Tips from María Montessori to educate autonomous and independent children

In 1907, María Montessori created the “Casa del Bambini” to break with the traditional schemes of the school. In it, he began to develop an educational method where the child is seen from an integral whole, and the child is helped to reach his potential as a human being.

The Montessori school is intended for the child to be self-confident and independent. How to do it? Follow these María Montessori's advice to educate autonomous and independent children.

- Movement and cognition: movement and sensations are related to the thinking process and the development of knowledge in children.

- Free choice: child development is understood as a process through which the child is able to be independent in his environment. Montessori education sets defined limits within which children can exercise free choice and make their own decisions, for example children choose what material they want to work with.

- Interest: A child learns best in contexts that are interesting to him, either from personal preferences or created by the environment.

- The reward is internal: According to María Montessori, external rewards are disruptive to the child's concentration. Periods of intense and sustained concentration are central to Montessori education. The repetition of an activity over and over again in preschool children allows them a high degree of concentration that is essential in their development.

- Learning in context: In the Montessori classroom, children, instead of learning from what the teacher and textbooks say, learn by doing things, manipulating objects and interacting with the environment. It is an active learning that takes as a starting point the context in which the child grows and develops.

- The role of the adult: the Montessori teacher is a guide, an observer, a facilitator.

- The environment and the mind: The Montessori classroom is a very organized environment, physically and conceptually). The classroom is divided into thematic areas within which the work materials are displayed following an order of complexity. In the classroom there is only one copy of each material.

From the Montessori school it is not about letting the child do what he wants. It is not so simple. Adults must be the guides and those who make the little ones discover what they are capable of.

What is sought is that within the possibilities of the child (each one has their own rhythms and needs) and their age, the little one learns to be responsible and independent and to assume the autonomy and obligations that correspond to him.

It is not an easy challenge and to achieve it we can follow some tips:

In the period from 2 to 8 years old when adults must help children to establish their self-esteem and be independent. For this, it will be essential to provide positive reinforcements as they will make them grow safe and happy. It will also hurt to force their actions and the supervision of the parents will be discreet and affectionate.

- When the child is between 2 and 3 years old. According to María Montessori, there are sensitive periods where children acquire the greatest learning potential since they are more receptive. In this period they begin to communicate, to want to discover everything about their world. It is an ideal time to offer your first responsibilities being supervised. For example, make them participate in household chores, dress themselves, put away their toys, be careful not to break things, etc.

- When the child is between 4 and 6 years old. In this period it will be ideal that the home furniture adapts to them and not the other way around. The child acquires many possibilities of movement. That is, it can and should move freely. The child must be able to function in daily activities such as brushing teeth, preparing breakfast, etc. The child must feel involved, useful and sure that he can do many things and that he does them well.

- When the child is between 7 and 8 years old. At this stage the child can already do many things. However, you will believe that you can do more than we adults can allow. He will be fully responsible for his things and must show that he can be trusted. The more confidence you gain, the more independence you will have.

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