Freedom and Responsibility in Montessori classrooms
In understanding how freedom and responsibility play the roles in each individual’s self-construction we need to see the hierarchy the way Maria Montessori saw it. Everything starts with freedom, which Maria Montessori linked with independence, which, in turn, help develop will and self-discipline, and then, based on that foundation, responsibility kicks in to play its role. This hierarchy clearly seen in the early stages of development although later, when every factor has been experienced and practiced for some time, the distinction will not be as obvious as before. All the factors will start to work in unison, affecting and reinforcing each other. Once the process has been started it goes on throughout life.
…-> (Freedom <-> Independence) <-> (Will <-> Self-discipline) <-> Responsibility <-…
Freedom and Independence
Freedom is the main concept of the Montessori approach. Montessori defined the word freedom as an individual’s opportunity and ability to act at will without compulsion or restraint. She saw freedom as the first level of independence. Through activities children of all ages experience, practice, and learn freedom and independence. In the elementary years those activities are making and maintaining friendships and relationships, reading, writing and calculating.
Whenever one hears the word freedom he can imagine that it is a possibility of doing whatever one wishes, without consideration of others of the consequences of their action. This is not Montessori’s view on freedom which includes the important role of within limits. Limits must be reasonable and balanced. How a guide would bring in the concept of a limit would roughly sound like this: “You may choose any work that you have had a lesson on during your work period.”
Another facet of freedom is the mental freedom. The children are free from the interference and free to find their own solutions and answers. This mental freedom allows the children to self-educate themselves and from their own decisions. This, in turn, leads to development of an independent mind, capable of forming its own judgments and making own choices.
Will and Self-discipline
Discipline comes from within, not without. It manifests in an environment created in order to enable the child to choose, engage in, and concentrate upon a meaningful activity.
Persistence and concentration in works at hand is the foundation of the will. A.S. Neill observed, the “healthy child cannot be idle” (Summerhill, p.65). Montessori came to the same conclusion and devised a plethora of activities related to the interests and abilities of the elementary children.
Montessori identified that making a decision is an action of the will. The ability to decide frees the child from the need for others to decide for him, thus a new level of independence is achieved. By exercising in making decisions the child gains and develops a balance between impulse and restriction, which leads to self-discipline. Self-discipline is manifested when the child controls his activity utilizing the developed will. For this reason, Montessori material is design to have the child make decisions and therefore develop the will.
Responsibility implies the ability not just to decide but to decide what is within expectations and limits. It requires a level of skill and knowledge that enables the child to carry out the task appropriately and effectively. Dr. Montessori asserts that we should never give a child a responsibility for which he is not ready.
Responsibility is related to accountability and acceptance of consequences. In a Montessori classroom, accountability to self is the focus. By exercising and practicing making decisions and acting upon them, the child develops conscience and psychological independence, which engenders an acceptance of the consequences for their actions.
Responsibility is the climax of the child’s development.
Peek inside the Elementary Classrooms
Hello Falcon Parents!!!
This month the children were working diligently on the finishing all the works and follow ups collected in their folders. When they had them finished they were expressing a great feeling of accomplishment and were proud of themselves.
There were several lessons in May that attracted the students the most. In history it was: Fundamental Human Needs, where the students decided to make their own sets of cards for the historical development of Food and Land Transport; and Stories about Different Civilizations where two of them were studied in details - Aztecs and Sumerians. In geography the students were fascinated with seasons, solstices, equinoxes, unequal days and nights during different seasons and the fruit of it was a skit and a diorama.
There was an explosion in baking. The students were inspired to follow up many of the lessons from different subjects be that history, geometry, or geography. While they were baking they solved a lot of math problems, reinforced their reading comprehension, and practiced their going out skills. All those experiences helped the children to bond with each other further and strengthened our community.
Before going for the summer break the children shared their plans with us about what they would do and they were excited to have these experiences. Hope you enjoy the time together and we look forward to listening to all fabulous stories in August.
Mr. Denis and Ms. Rebeca
Hello Coyote Parents!!
It has been an amazing year of developing imagination and curiosity into all aspects of learning, exploring and creating!
The children this month busied their lives to complete their works, research projects and accomplish goals set at the beginning of the year. The accomplishment of completion is a gift to the children of satisfaction, self-motivation to do more, and of opportunity to self-evaluate and set new goals for the new year. We look forward to see what will be their next areas of interest and concern.
The May lessons were filled with really taking a close look at language and its parts. The close evaluation of each words function provided a natural awareness and development in the use of verbal and written language. The children are writing stories, poems and biography work that extends their expression in the world. Also, we have introduced calligraphy in the classroom and experienced a love for beauty in the written word. The children enjoyed writing pen pal letters and a beautiful Mother's day card.
Geography and Geometry lessons provided a passage to understanding the world in a concrete comprehensible context. The class time was equally spent exploring the world outdoors in the garden as well as in the science center taking a close look at soil samples, close up on leaf samples, roots, seeds and bug parts. Gross but so interesting. Measuring objects in our environment and figuring out the perimeter, area, and volume was an opportunity for great collaborative work.
It is the last days before Summer Break and it is sad to end the school year when you can feel the brains buzzing in neuron snapping and hungry for more adventures of learning. Take you children out into the world and explore to expand their curiosities and imagination so they will be ready for a new school year of growth, development and lots of learning fun!!!!
Take good care of our Coyotes!!!
Mr. Fernando & Ms. Ada
Peek into Fly up Ceremony 2018
The Fly Up Ceremony is a Montessori tradition that honors the transition of the child from one stage to another. The growth and development of the child is celebrated and they are declared ready for their next stage in their journey through our curriculum. Students who are transitioning from one stage to another (ie: Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary) share with the student body their hopes and dream in moving into their new stage. They then are lead to cross through an arch built by the arms of their friends and are greeted on the other side by their new guide of the next stage of their development. It is a memorable moment that carries the honor and significance of a right of passage. This is a special ceremony that is cherished at Creo Montessori.
Our five amazing candidates have completed their full cycle in the Lower Elementary classroom. Each culminated with the honor of providing their community with leadership and accepting the responsibilities of being stewards of the world. It is a bitter sweet departure after spending 3 to 4 years with this amazing group and seeing step by step his/her growth and development, yet at the same time an honor and a hope to be in the know that the world will be a better place because of what we have shared together.
Congratulations to our candidates and to their parents who have partnered with us to nurture and inspire the leaders of the future. We wish all four of you an amazing continual journey in the Falcon’s Community!!!
Mr. Fernando & Mrs. Ada