One of the most common misconceptions about Montessori preschools in Tribeca is that the “Montessori style” means allowing children to run wild without discipline or control. This is not the case! Probably the best single description of Montessori discipline is “freedom within limits.” Montessori-style schools try to give children as much freedom as is reasonable while still maintaining controls on their actions and encouraging positive behaviors.
These are some of the principles of Montessori-style discipline that we feel are particularly important and help emphasize the power of this style of teaching.
How Tribeca Montessori Preschools Encourage Proper Behavior
1. Encouraging intrinsic motivation
Montessori schools avoid using bribes to encourage good behavior because that’s an extrinsic motivation – something external to the child. There’s no direct relationship between getting a good grade, and getting a treat, so this is considered poor teaching. Instead, the focus is on helping children understand how they, themselves, are improving through successes, and encouraging them to develop self-discipline.
2. Avoiding arbitrary/unexplained rules
“Because I said so!” is not an acceptable way for a Montessori-style teacher to assert authority. Rules are in place for reasons and explaining the reasons for the rule will make it easier for children to follow those rules.
3. Offering alternatives
Another unhelpful form of discipline is to discourage one activity, without giving the child a viable alternative. For example, taking a ball away from a child, but not giving them something else to do instead. This invites misbehavior and acting out. So, Montessori-style instructors always try to control through redirection, taking away on one hand, but giving something new on the other.
4. Respectful communication
Respect should be a two-way street. Every child, no matter how young, is still an independent thinking person with feelings and motivations. So, Montessori teachers are encouraged to remain positive and respectful in their interactions with the children. This makes it feel ‘fair’ to ask for respect in return, as well as modeling positive interactions.
5. Working together to solve problems
If a child is facing a challenge, from a difficult worksheet to a temper tantrum, Montessori-style teachers look for cooperative solutions. “Let’s work on this together!” is a common phrase. It encourages children to look for others to help, as well as reinforcing the idea that different people can have different approaches to problems.