Monday, April 2, 2012

Montessori A to Z: B is for Believe

For the Montessori Method to be successful, you must be a believer. You have to have belief in the philosophy and that great things can happen when it is implemented. You must believe in yourself and your ability to deliver the method and to mentor children. And you must believe in the children. For when you believe in them, they can start to believe in themselves.

Too many times I hear my kids saying that they can't do something. Somehow they have been taught that they can't do for themselves. They give up when the going gets tough. But it is not from being in my classroom. At least I hope not! I always tell them that I believe in them and I never ask them to do something they can't do. They are ecstatic when they realize that they can do a certain task. I think society has turned to the point where people do too much for kids. They are not made to clean up after themselves, so they expect us to be their maids. They are not held accountable for their actions. "Oh, you hit someone today? Well, don't do that. Now let's go get a treat." They are pushed to excel in everything and indirectly belittled when they make a mistake. I hear a lot more of "I told you so" and less of "What can we do next time?" They are held up to standards that they cannot possibly attain, therefore always feeling a failure.

Believing in a child means you are validating his feelings about something. You listen to how he feels about the situation and acknowledge them. You create a two-way conversation and involve him in decisions, while still adhering to your boundaries. You become a mentor and a guide, showing him how to attain each necessary step along the way. You do not do FOR the child. One of my favorite Montessori quotes is "Teach me how to do it myself." When you show a child how to do for himself, you are showing that you believe in him. And that is the greatest lesson of all.


  1. Wonderful post, Andrea! Everything I try to teach my children comes down to helping them believe in themselves. I grew up in a very strict and demanding household, where everything had to be perfect or there was a lot of ridicule. I want my kids to know how to do things for themselves while not forcing them to adhere strictly to my way of doing things. As long as they are following the household rules, I'm happy with their unique and creative approach to things.