Montessori Children

Montessori observed the phenomena of “normalization,” that condition during which children showed their true nature, peacefulness, calm, and an industriousness that has come to be surprising in young children. We seek normalization in our classrooms. We discuss children as not yet normalized. We admire the normalized child who was such a handful before.

diseño en papelBy focusing, though, on the goal of the normalized child, we distance ourselves from the children at hand. Each child in our classrooms comes to us perfect, and it is our obligation to treat the child with the same love and reverence when his or her behavior is challenging as we do this idealized normalized child. Consider the normalized child who suddenly suffers a child more grace, because we have seen this child as normalized, than we do the child who has yet to overcome the simpler, hidden stressed of children’s lives. We are more forgiving. We are more compassionate. We have loved the normalized child entirely, and because we have loved her, we hurt with her and for her.

Each child deserves that same forgiveness, that same compassion; for the work each child accomplishes on the path to adulthood is exactly the work that child is to do. Montessori warned us that we could not do the work of becoming on the child’s behalf. We see children who, it seems, have everything, and it is difficult not to hold their life’s status against them when their behavior challenges us. We become angry with their parents for spoiling them or for not doing just as we have directed. We are frustrated that they don’t respond as quickly, that they are not served by the materials we have chosen for them. And in our judgment, we separate ourselves even further. It is only through empathy that we can understand the child’s life. It is only through compassion that we can serve her. We must look at the child who is standing in front of us (or lying on the ground screaming in front of us!) and see the child who is yet to come. We revere the child for her potential. We respect her for her promise. While continue to do this work, and gives foundation to our accomplishment as teachers, sometimes the most important work we do is for the child we never see change.

If we have neither sufficient experience nor love to enable us to distinguish the fine and delicate expressions of the child’s life, if we do not know how to respect them, then we perceive them only when they are manifested violently.  Maria Montessori


The pic shows a work  done by a 5 years old child during his English lesson.