By Sofia Coraines
Discipline is an important aspect of any education program. If a child acts out at school, that behavior needs to be addressed in some way. However, a lot of schools take the wrong approach to discipline. They don't teach children why their behavior is wrong; they simply try to break their spirit.
Montessori schools take a different approach to discipline. In a Montessori program, children do receive discpline, but they are also given freedom. Montessori classrooms treat children with respect, and trust them to learn from the mistakes that they make.
At Montessori schools, teachers don't feel that discipline is something that should be imposed by an authority figure. Instead, they believe that discipline is something that should come from within.
Montessori schools want to teach children how to choose the correct behavior. Children that attend Montessori schools don't behave because they are afraid of the consequences; they behave because they know it is the right thing to do.
This approach can encourage independence in children. When a child doesn't have to be corrected all the time, that child can be trusted to do things on their own. Children who attend Montessori schools tend to become very responsible adults.
Avoiding Power Struggles
One of the main things that Montessori educators try to do is avoid power struggles with children. Power struggles take up a lot of a teacher's time, and prevent other children in the classroom from receiving education. When other children see power struggles in a classroom, they may be tempted to mimic that bad behavior. After all, it is a guaranteed way to get the teacher's attention.
In addition, it is clear that the constant correction in public schools can take a toll. In a study conducted by the University of Iowa, researchers found that the average student receives more than 400 negative comments in a single day. Those same students only receive about 30 positive comments.
At Montessori schools, educators focus on something called GEMS: Genuine Encounter Moments. These moments are designed to make the child feel important and valued. When a child goes to a Montessori school, they'll know that good behavior -- not bad behavior -- is the best way to get attention.
People are often shocked the first time they step into a Montessori classroom. It is hard for people to believe how quiet the classroom is. Children aren't shouting or screaming; they're doing their work quietly.
Montessori educators are able to achieve this by teaching children something called self-quieting. This is a technique that children are taught to help them calm down. When a child is upset about something, they aren't forced to stay where they are; they are allowed to take a break. During that break, the child can count to ten or go to a peaceful place.
Children are taught problem solving skills that they are encouraged to employ during this time. As the child works to calm themselves down, they can work to figure out why they are upset. They are also encouraged to come up with ways that they can improve the situation.
Once the child has resolved the issue, they can return to their seat and get back to work. No one else will be interrupted, and the other kids in the classroom will be free to learn. In addition, the child will have learned how to successfully solve their own problem. That is a skill that some adults have yet to master.
Discipline is an important part of the Montessori classroom. With that said, the approach to discipline at Montessori is very different from what parents are accustomed to. If you spend time at a Montessori school, you will see that this approach works.