Everyone is so kind and gentle in Montessori. How does this help our children in the real world where not everyone is so kind? What about when you have to do something?
One part of Montessori is removing obstacles. We try to set up our homes and classrooms so the children can have as much success as possible. The child receives an enormous amount of satisfaction from mastery and feeling capable. They are motivated to continue to be curious learners and seek out information.
So, yes, we remove obstacles, but we also allow for them to work things out for themselves. As my Montessori friend Nichole Holtvluwer recently wrote, the struggle is essential. You can read her insta post on it here.
I also believe that the Montessori approach is about building skills in our children. So that they can deal with things that life throws at them and when things go wrong, learn and practise skills for the next time.
I love that Montessori allows children to make discoveries for themselves not simply to rote learn things to pass tests. These children learn how to find things out, how to follow their interests, and to become enormously creative thinkers (we all hope they will go on to become their own version of the Montessori-going Google guys).
Another important aspect of Montessori is having kids learn to take responsibility. They put things away so they are ready for the next person; they are supported to make amends if they hurt a friend or something in the environment; and they learn to look after the classroom and others from the youngest ages.
But can Montessori help them deal with everything life will deal with them so they won’t suffer? That they will be perfectly balanced kids?
I think most children have their insecurities, their anxieties, and their weaknesses. They don’t like when people get angry and I’ve heard that sometimes children didn’t have to complete things that they were meant to do.
I don’t think any education can promise that children will be happy 100% of the time. I don’t think that’s the purpose of life. But I do think it supports our children to be curious learners and responsible human beings. And they know that they can keep brushing themselves down and keep learning. Just like we are doing.
I love this post by my Montessori friend Aubrey Hargis:
“Respectful education prepares children for life. It doesn’t train children for job success; it nurtures their creative and intellectual powers, divorcing them from any external mark, and doing so keeps alive their intrinsic love of work.”