“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” – Dr. Maria Montessori.

The most important goal of Montessori philosophy is “Independence”.

Maria Montessori believed that in order to be free, one needs to be independent.

Children as young as 6 weeks old , starting in the Nido classroom are encouraged to do developmentally age appropriate tasks on their own starting from feeding, dressing, etc.

Practical life works in the Toddler and Primary classrooms aid in the development of “Independence” in a child. The long sequence water works like Dish washing, clothes washing etc build the concept of sequence, focus, concentration and empower the children in accomplishing these tasks on their own.

We as parents, teachers, adults in the society often tell children that they can achieve anything they want to if they work hard and set their mind to the task, but let’s pause and think, do we really give them the opportunity to do so? Do we let them do their day – to-day tasks on their own ? Are we hard pressed for time that we just do it for them?

I have observed parents who carry their 4 year olds to the classroom door, had a parent help a 4 year old child put on her “velcro shoes” because he thought she couldn’t do it until I watched it one day and told him that she is very much capable of doing it on her own & that she does it every day when we go in/out for playtime.

This is a strange but “valid” question I had a parent ask me once:

“Why do you want my 3-year old child to do everything on his own like putting his shoes on, rolling his nap roll , dressing/undressing himself ?”

He has his whole life to do it on his own, we as adults should be doing it for him now because he is little.

I responded by explaining all that I knew about the importance of “Independence” in the Montessori philosophy to convince the parent that if they don’t it on their own when they are younger , in the 1st plane of development, it will be a lot harder to do it on their own when they are older or they might be dependent on others for their day-to day tasks later in the future . Lack of independence also impacts the confidence, self-esteem and motivation in  an individual.

Have you had any parents ask you strange questions about independence? How far do you go to encourage your children to do their tasks on their own? How do you educate the parents about the importance of “independence” in a child’s overall development?

Would love to hear  your feedback/comments…….

If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence – Maria Montessori (Discovery of the child, Pg. 57)

Published by

Geetha Nagarajan

My name is Geetha. I was introduced to Montessori as a parent and then choose it to be my career. I have over 13 years of experience in a Montessori primary classroom. I have a Masters Degree in Plant Sciences from India and a Masters in Educational Leadership from UNT (Denton, TX) and my Montessori Early childhood certification from American Montessori Society (AMS).

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