Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

Rules of Thumb

Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of the directress/educator/teacher in the children’s environment, especially in the classroom. As a directress, we sometimes slip, forget, forego, or simply neglect to behave our best in the classroom. I’ve collected some tips as reminders for us to hold onto when we are with the children. I hope we can apply these key rules essentially as exercises to tone our educating muscles. Remember that repetition reinforces and remould our attractive personalities!
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Remind yourself about:
•the emergence of the ‘normalized’ child.
•resolve misbehaviour problems with children by applying the approach of the ‘control the environment not the child’.
•positive habits and disciplines of self-control, observation and patience.
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Rules of Thumb
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Handling Objects
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Never take an object directly from a child’s hand. Instead, ask or direct the child to put it down first. Likewise, never directly hand an object to a child, but rather put it down first.

Decision-making for Action
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Judge whether to intervene or otherwise on the basis of the needs and interests of the total environment of the group. Give priority attention to the most severe misbehaviour scenario, ie. Physical harm to a child is the first concern, quiet fantasy is last.

Primary Detrimental Influence
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Find and remove the primary detrimental influence around the hub child first, deciding which area of the environment is most problematic.

Controlling Other Children
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Always go to the child least actively involved around the hub child first, eye contact is the best clue to identify the child.

Adult Movement
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Always use the least amount of physical movement possible to achieve the desired result Remain as stationary as possible, using eye contact as the main tool for interacting with children.

Intervention
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Never interrupt a child engaged in concentrated work.

Questioning
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Use questions with children to distract away from fantasy. Eg. What work would you like to do? Where is your work? What are you doing?

Don’t Say NO!
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Infants are naturally ‘yes’ orientated to life and experience. A young child doesn’t have the concept of time, so to say ‘no’ is like ‘never’ to a child. Use ‘maybe’, ‘later’ or other explanation.

[Excerpts taken from Montessori International magazine- Interacting at the IMS Workshop in Scotland with Lee Havis (Executive Director IMS)]

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December 29, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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