How many times did a teacher ask you to sit properly when you were young, yet, you never really understood what was wrong with sitting the way you wanted?
Or how frustrated were you when a teacher belittled all your efforts, just because you weren’t “disciplined” enough?
Contrary to the definition of discipline as per “Oxford English dictionary”, which states that discipline is: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience”, Montessori believes that discipline imposed on children is not discipline; it is coercion. However, as per Montessori: real discipline is self-discipline; one that empowers the child’s will. It comes from within, and not without.
“The discipline we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent as a mute and as motionless as a paralytic. Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated. We claim that an individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.” Maria Montessori
Figure 1 Independence and disciplined learning at the Montessori Ivy League Academy
When we dictate children’s behaviour or punish them for not doing as they are told, we not only take away their will, but we also diminish their sense of responsibility, and hence, introduce under developed characters to the society. Although it could seem effective at first, however, on a longer time span, the consequences are far more exhausting than the effort it takes to embrace active discipline.
Children’s actions during the early stages of their lives are controlled by their vital urges. This explains why children’s tendency to disobey when asked to do something conflicting with their inner needs is higher than when asked to contextualize these urges. In a Montessori learning environment, both discipline and freedom are well balanced. While children have a freedom to choose, every available choice is a good one, this helps them make good decisions and become more confident in their own ability. Moreover, children learn to differentiate between right and wrong as well as understand the consequences of their behaviour. Many times, they get to choose the consequences themselves. This way, children understand the expectations from them, and hold themselves accountable for their own actions.
In Montessori Ivy League Academy, each child is given the amount of freedom he/she can handle within limits, as well as a proper room to help oneself, and develop independence. Children are assisted to find an engaging activity and tutored to focus, and control their bodies as a step to self-discipline. They are also tutored in teamwork. “Discipline is, therefore, primarily a learning experience and less a punitive experience”. Maria Montessori
Montessori Ivy League Academy and Montessori League Academy Franchise is a progressive private Montessori preschool, dedicated to recapture the 100 year-old tradition of Maria Montessori, and provide opportunities to own a Montessori preschool franchise, at the lowest cost and the lowest risk, while supporting and training for success of the business, as well as the children they serve.
Copyright © Shaun Ajani, Montessori Ivy League. Inc.