Freedom and Discipline
Children love to touch and manipulate everything in their environment. The human mind is design with such senses for learning way back to our ancestors. It is through movement and touch, the child explores.
Manipulates and builds a storehouse of impressions about the physical world around them. Children learn best by doing, and this requires movement and spontaneous investigations. Montessori environment encourage children to move about, working alone or with others at their free will. They may select any activity and work with it as long as they wish, so long as they do not disturb others or damage anything, and place it back to the place of origin when they have finished. Many materials at the early childhood are designed to draw children’s attention to the sensory properties of objects within their environment: size, shape, colour, texture, weight, smell, sound. Gradually, they will learn to pay attention, seeing more clearly small minor details in the things around them. They will begin to observe and appreciate their environment. This is a key in helping children discover the process of learning.
Freedom! A word that not in tradition to affiliate with discipline. More often than not I have feedback from new parents that Montessori child’s freedom to choose activities surmise that discipline is non-existed in our classroom.This assumption had indeed ripe off the is learning opportunity to our children. Discipline is in fact a way that children gradually grow inertly and not a normal assumption that is imposed by an authority figure where a child is expected to obey without question. Discipline in Montessori environment is not about technique for controlling behavior. We emphasis on the development of the child internal calling for control which the child will learn to choose the right behavior for themselves.
Freedom is a critical issue as children begin to explore towards their learning development. The goal of Montessori is less to teach them facts and concepts, but rather assist them develop the interest with the process of focusing their complete attention on something and mastering its challenge with enthusiasm. Work assigned by adults rarely results with such enthusiasm and interest compare with work where children freely choose for themselves. The prepared environment of Montessori class is a learning laboratory in which children are allowed to explore, discover, and sleeve their own work. The independence that the children gain is not only empowering on a social and emotional basis, but it is also intrinsically involved with helping them become comfortable and confident in their ability to adapt to the environment, asking questions, puzzle out the answer, and learn without the needs to be “spoon-fed” by adult.
Dr. Montessori discovered that freedom and discipline indeed go hand in hand adverse to the traditional schooling where generally children can only “behave” when strict discipline is imposed meaning their freedom is taken away.
Young children do not have the self-control and coordination over their mind and his body to attempt to obey adult command. During this period, children need our help and care instead of scolding, to help them achieve discipline. The child needs to experience the freedom move at will and to choose his own activities. It is through their work in the Montessori classroom or helping with chores at home that they develops themselves physically, learning how to control their muscles and coordinate their movements mentally and emotionally, as he practices their thinking skills through problems, choosing the time spend on their work, and experiencing how others reacts towards their actions. This freedom requires a set of limits, with few simple rules for what is acceptable and not of which we must explained to the child in a way for them to understand. By experiencing the natural consequences to his actions helps the child to connect with the cause and effect. Eventually, they will be able to think through and predict the possible consequences before they acts and will learn to choose wisely.
It is through trial and error as the child learns to practice the limits and facing consequences based on their actions. Hence, through freedom the children will learns how to discipline themselves. They will learn how to control their body and movements; and think through his options when making decisions. They will develop their own inner compass for acting on the right and wrong.
While we are their guide to the path!
Note: This is Montessori philosophy paper’s for teacher’s reference