One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.
Measure Montessori success by the happiness of the children
by Andrea Coventry
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” – Maria Montessori
It doesn’t matter how good the education of children appears to be if the children are not happy. Happy children come about through the Montessori method.
Freedom within limits.
Children crave limits. However, they also achieve independence through having some choice. Montessori classrooms that have clear boundaries and ground rules have children who are content, because they feel safer and more secure. These boundaries help them to comfortably make choices.
Included in that freedom is a sense of independence. Children want to know how to do everything by themselves. It will take a lot of repetition to master an activity, but the child will be elated once he finally conquers that quest. Adults harm and hinder when they do everything for the child.
Teach the child how to do things for himself. Break down tasks into manageable steps so that he can feel successful. Reassure him that he can do it. When he does finally accomplish a great task, instead of gushing over his accomplishment, identify his feelings. “You must feel very proud of yourself right now.” Or, simply as him how he feels.
Observe and move on
A good Montessori instructor is constantly observing the child. Watch for signs that she is ready to move on to the next activity. Learning a new task will boost her self-esteem and happiness. Step in long enough to present the new lesson, then move on to allow for that self-directed exploration of the self-correcting materials.
Signs of happy children
Happy children in a Montessori classroom are independently working. They may be pursuing individual projects, or assisting others with their projects. They are moving freely about the environment, in a purposeful manner. They rarely require adult assistance. There will often also be a buzz around the room, that is not disruptive, yet not a silent classroom. The classroom appears normalized.
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