If you’ve ever observed a Montessori classroom in action, particularly a group of three-to-six-year-old children, you may be struck by how very calm and organized the classroom is. The children work independently, with little conflict, and with great patience and respect for one another and the work they are doing. It’s all part of the greater plan of the Montessori Method, which has a very unique and organic process to encourage children’s social development.
Check out these five ways the Montessori Method teaches positive social skills.
Grace And Courtesy
Children learn much beyond saying “please” and “thank you” in the Montessori classroom. Among a plurality of skills, children learn how to greet people, politely ask for something they need, express their feelings to one another, share, and play “silence” and “walk-the-line” games to develop self-control and stronger gross motor skills.
Small Group Lessons
Montessori-certified teachers guide students individually, but they also direct small group lessons where children learn to listen and respect what is said as teachers monitor conversational skills.
Practical Life Activities
Children learn how to master many practical, household skills in the classroom. Using scaled-down brooms and dust pans, child-size furniture, and easily accessible sinks and rags, children learn to help out in the classroom and at home, while also developing respect for order, cleanliness, and their communal environment. They discover the joy of being one person of a greater community doing work for the good of the whole.
With a keenly observant teacher always nearby, children are given the words, skills, and opportunity to resolve conflicts on their own, especially during recess, meal times, and breaks.
Collaboration Not Competition
In a Montessori classroom, when a child chooses a toy to work or play with, he knows it’s his to enjoy while he’s concentrating on it. No one will take it from him or insist that he share. Similarly, he has to show the same respect for another’s child’s space and activity. And since all the students learn to return the toy to its original condition and original place when finished, every student knows he’ll get his chance to play with it in good time. This reduces competition and conflict and increases respect and patience.
People are social creatures, so learning how to live peacefully amid a community feeds a basic need. This is just a sampling of the ways the Montessori Method of education helps develop a child’s social skills, making them joyful and happy collaborators in learning.