Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Due to our fast-paced, busy lifestyles these days, a common
caregivers often make is to rush through activities
without patiently
allowing children to attempt basic life skills,
such as ‘do up’ their
coats, tie their shoes, and/or brush their
hair, on their own. This
often leads to children developing
dependence on others to perform
tasks for them, instead of
allowing children to improve their personal
To me fostering Independence is one of the most important concepts in Montessori education. Independence is promoted in the Practical Life curriculum of the Montessori program, and in this area, lessons are taught on basic physical skills that address almost anything and everything that involve everyday life activities. The underlying concept is to foster the needs and desires of the child to fit into an adult centered world. With this in mind as a Directress, the children in my classroom are encouraged to do everything for themselves, such as ‘doing up’ their coats, or pouring their own juice at snack time. To watch the joy in a child's eyes when they do up their coat for the first time, or pour juice at snack time for their friends, is amazing. And when there is a child who has not yet learned a particular task, other students and I will show him/her how to perform that task, so he/she can accomplish it independently. Children feel such pride in themselves when accomplishing tasks on their own. We shouldn't take that away from them. A very popular lesson in my classroom is "washing windows". We teach them washing windows as part of the "Care for the Environment" section of Practical Life. In a Montessori classroom, it is the children's environment, not the Directress'. The children love washing windows. We have the cleanest windows in the school.

This brings me to some of my favourite quotes by Maria Montessori, from The Discovery of the Child

"No one can be free if he is not independent"

"We believe children are like puppets. We wash them and feed them as if they were dolls. We never stop to think that a child who does not act does not know how to act, but he should act, and nature has given him all the means for learning how to act. Our primary duty towards him is to assist him to perform useful acts."

"He who is served instead of being helped is in a certain sense deprived of his independence."

Please, lets discuss the quotes. And/or tell me what is most important to YOU in Montessori.


  1. If the children do things for themselves at school, but then go home and their parents do everything for them, do their parents actions slow the learning progression for the child?

  2. Usually parents who send their children to Montessori school agree with the philosophy therefore, take our advice when we tell them how important independence is and they also have some knowledge already of what Montessori teaches a child. Most of the time parents listen to us. If they don't listen, I don't think it slows the learning progression of the child. The child knows what is expected of them at school. This is in my experience.

  3. Interesting, thanks for answering my question.