Although some individuals perceive discipline as a ‘freedom-killer,’ the opposite is true – discipline provides the structure that allows individuals to explore and grow in a safe environment.
In a Montessori setting, where children are encouraged to be independent and to think for themselves, discipline is that much more important. Read on to understand the Montessori discipline for different ages and its importance.
Discipline in Montessori
The Montessori discipline approach believes that children are innately good and have a natural desire to learn. Therefore, this approach focuses on positive reinforcement rather than punishment to encourage desired behaviors.
First, kids are encouraged to do things for themselves. This tip helps them to develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. They can also make choices within certain limits to help them learn about cause and effect.
In Montessori, kids receive respect. However, this approach doesn’t mean that they can do whatever they want – instead, they can explain their actions and have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
Lastly, discipline is a joint effort between teachers and parents. Both groups need to be on the same page for discipline to be effective.
Also Read: Montessori VS Traditional School System
Tips To Maintain Discipline Through Montessori Approach
The Montessori discipline approach focuses on positive reinforcement instead of punishment, helping children to learn desired behaviors.
The goal is to change the kids’ perspective of discipline as a lack of freedom and view it as liberty instead. Here are helpful tips to achieve that.
Have a Respectful Attitude Towards Them
Being minors doesn’t mean that children should be treated as inferiors. Instead, show them the same level of respect you would give to adults and let them explain their actions instead of jumping to conclusions.
Talk and listen to them patiently, getting to the root of the problem instead of scolding or lecturing them. This step shows the children that you value them and that they matter. For example, you may say, “I understand that you’re upset because your sister took away your toy, but hitting her isn’t the answer. Instead, let’s find a better way to deal with this.”
Also, suppose a child made a mess while trying to help with cooking. In that case, you may say, “I appreciate your enthusiasm in wanting to help, but please ask me first so we can avoid making this kind of mess next time. Can you please clean this up now?”
Understand and Validate Their Concerns/Emotions
Sometimes, children misbehave because they are trying to communicate their needs or feelings. But the kids need to learn how to express themselves appropriately. Try to understand what they might be feeling and validate those emotions.
For example, a child may throw a tantrum because he is tired, hungry, or overwhelmed. In that case, you could say, “I can see that you’re upset/frustrated/angry right now. Let’s take a break and have a snack/take a nap/calm down.”
In the same way, a child may act out because she feels left out or unimportant. In that case, you might say, “I see that you’re feeling lonely/sad/rejected. I’m here for you and I love you.”
This approach to a child’s emotions helps them feel seen, heard, and valued, hopefully reducing the tantrums and misbehavior in the future.
Also Read: Montessori Book For Parents
Do Not Give Them a Bribe/Reward/Punishment
As much as you want the easiest way out, don’t succumb to the temptation of bribing children into behaving the way you want them to. Bribery sends the message that they need an external reward to behave well, which isn’t the case.
The same goes for punishment. Avoid using physical or verbal punishment as it teaches children that violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems. Not to mention, it can also lead to further behavioral issues down the road.
Give Them Freedom But With Limited Options
One of the critical aspects of Montessori discipline is giving children the freedom to make their own choices. Freedom to act helps them to learn about cause and effect, as well as develop a sense of self-reliance.
However, it’s essential to set limits on this freedom so that children don’t get overwhelmed or hurt themselves. For example, you may give them the choice of what to wear for the day but not let them choose between wearing a coat or going outside in the cold without one.
Also Read: Worst Age To Change Schools
Communicate Your Expectations to the Child
From the start, it is essential to be clear about your expectations of the child. This step will help to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding later on.
For example, you may say, “I expect you to use indoor voices when we’re inside the house,” or “I expect you to put your toys away before you go outside to play.”
It’s also important to explain the consequences of not following your expectations. For instance, “If you choose not to use indoor voices, then I will have to ask you to leave the room and take a break.”
This way, children know what is expected of them and what will happen if they don’t meet those expectations.
Do Not Lose Your Calm and Be Non-Reactive
In the heat of the moment, it can be challenging to keep your cool. But it’s important to remember that children learn from our example. If we shout or get angry, they will think it’s okay for them to do the same.
Instead, try to remain calm and non-reactive. This means that you should still pay attention to the misbehavior. Just don’t let it get to you emotionally.
For example, if a child throws a tantrum, you may say calmly, “I see that you’re upset right now. I’m here for you when you’re ready to talk.”
Or if a child hits another child, you may say, “Hitting isn’t an acceptable way to solve problems. Let’s talk about what you could do instead.”
It’s also important to follow through with your consequences calmly and collectedly. For example, “If you continue to hit, I will have to put you in time-out.”
What was Dr. Monetossori’s view on discipline?
Dr. Maria Montessori believed discipline was essential to a child’s education. She thought that it helped children to develop self-control and inner strength. However, she also believed that punishment should be gentle and loving.
What are the three levels of discipline?
The three levels of discipline are:
This is when a child learns to control their behavior. For example, a child who can control their impulses and handle frustration well is said to have self-discipline.
This is when a child learns to interact with others respectfully. For example, a child who knows how to take turns and share toys with others has interpersonal discipline.
This is when a child learns to follow the rules and behave in a way that is acceptable in society. For example, a child who knows not to hit or bite other people has social discipline.
How is discipline dealt with in a Montessori school?
Discipline is typically dealt with in a Montessori school using positive reinforcement and logical consequences. For example, a child may be praised for good behavior or given a small reward.
On the other hand, a child who misbehaves may be asked to sit out of an activity or given a time-out.
Discipline is an integral part of the Montessori approach to education. It helps children to develop self-control, inner strength, and respect for others. If you are considering enrolling your child in a Montessori school, ask about their discipline policy.