From time to time, we read in the press stories about a general lack of discipline and a high truancy rate in traditional schools. Yet this same phenomenon does not seem to apply to Montessori schools. Even if we look further a field to the United States, where the Montessori philosophy is applied through to adolescence level, there are still none of the negative stories we see so much of in traditional schools. What is different about Montessori schools that seems to make children want to learn and enables them to be able to focus on their learning without encountering any issues about discipline?
Children in Montessori Schools love school. This is because it meets with their developmental needs and the curriculum is child-centred rather than adult-led. Montessori Schools provide the child with the opportunity to work in an environment that is meticulously prepared for their needs. This unique characteristic of Montessori schools goes a long way in ensuring that the problem of discipline does not arise.
If a school is providing what you need then surely you would want to go there? A important aspect of this environment is the mixed age group, the freedom of choice that the children are given and the developmentally-designed materials. These things all come together to work with the individual not just in the Children’s House but at the primary and secondary level as well.
It is hard to come by one Montessori child who does not love school. This is because Montessori schools see education as an aid to life, not as a means to getting a job or passing exams.
Montessori also has a unique approach to discipline in that the children are helped to develop self-discipline through their own engagement. This is in contrast to traditional schools where discipline is applied externally with the result that the discipline
of the class is only as good as the teacher’s ability to maintain it and often when the teacher leaves the room chaos will break out. If children have not been helped to develop self-discipline during their formative years the job of a traditional teacher can become very difficult.