Private kindergartens that use the authentic Montessori Method approach discipline– like other aspects of early development– differently than traditional teaching methods. Respect for the child is a primary tenet of Montessori, and it is applied in disciplinary approaches along with another important tenet: grace and courtesy. The idea is that kids will accept responsibility for their own self-discipline when they understand the positive aspects of behaving appropriately.
Avoiding Rewards and Punishments
Montessori kindergarten doesn’t use threats and punishment to get children to behave appropriately, Instead, The Montessori Method uses positive encouragement, meaningful communication, and respect for the child to instill a desire to succeed. Research shows that using punishments may correct unwanted behavior temporarily, but teaching children why such behavior is frowned upon is a more lasting solution.
Instead of directly forbidding activity, the Montessori classroom looks at a situation and explains the consequences of disobedience. “If you do this, then…” is an excellent example of using communication to guide appropriate behavior that is effective in many situations. The idea is to get children to take a more objective look at what they are doing and how it affects what they would like to happen. By the time children have entered kindergarten, their brains are developing crucial concepts such as the ability to consider the feelings of others as if they were their own.
It is a big help if the home and school environments consistently follow the same rules. If acting out to get her way is tolerated at home, the school staff will have a difficult time getting her to understand that such attitudes are not acceptable. Regular communication between the teachers and parents keeps everyone on the same page, and when rules are consistent children accept that the school and their parents are both interested in the same results. Montessori classrooms allow a lot of freedom of movement, but there are still rules regarding many types of interaction such as sharing, taking turns, and eating as a class activity.
Montessori teachers don’t yell at students or punish them in conventional ways, but they still expect to be shown the same respect and obedience from all students. It would be nice if every child could always get her way, but the classroom would quickly turn to chaos and none of the children would be able to make any progress.