A child is mysterious and powerful
and contains within himself the secret of human nature.
–Dr. Maria Montessori
Montessori teaches to deeply respect children, not interrupting when they are concentrating, allowing them to discover their own mistakes rather than pointing them out, observing without judgment. However, the ability to transform old habits and apply Montessori philosophy can be challenging. Sometimes, whether aware of it or not, we can make veiled demands and pressure children to do things they don’t want to do, because somehow we ‘know’ what the child needs, because we are older; wiser; have more experience. We sometimes have to check ourselves — are we giving the appearance of choices? Or are we really asking the child to do what we want them to do? Are we inviting a child into a lesson, or are we demanding their attention? When we allow a child to continue working rather than joining the circle, we respect his need to continue his ‘work’ and value his need to concentrate. When we understand that wandering is part of a child’s need for movement, we value the mystery that lives within them that we cannot see. This matters to us, and while we may make mistakes, we know that we are guided by that mystery as well.