The Freedom of Montessori
#1. The “Freedom with limits”
Freedom with limits in the Montessori Classroom is an empowering concept. It embraces the notion of the child as an explorer who is capable of learning and doing for themselves. Montessori encourages freedom within limits through the design of the prepared environment. Especially relevant is the low open shelves, logically ordered activities, and child-friendly workspaces of the Montessori classroom. In effect, this encourages the child to move freely around the classroom, and choose their own work within limits of appropriate behaviour. These limits are the ground rules of the Montessori classroom. There are three ground rules of the Montessori classroom. All other ground rules stem from these three.
i) Respect for oneself
ii) Respect for others, and
iii) Respect for the environment.
#2. Freedom of Movement
Within the Montessori classroom, children are free to move around the room and move from one activity to the next. Children who move around the room are more likely to choose purposeful work when they have fulfilled their need for activity. In consequence, by allowing freedom of movement, children learn to explore their environment; and therefore discover their interests.
#3. Freedom of time
Freedom of time allows children to work with the same material for as long as they like. In effect, this encourages children to learn at their own pace, develop the skills of concentration, and learn patience to wait for their turn.
#4. Freedom of choice
Freedom of choice is fundamental to the Montessori approach. This is because choice allows children to discover their needs, interests and abilities. Furthermore, freedom of choice encourages children to be engaged in their learning, and thus discover the outcome of the activity.
#5. Freedom to repeat
The three-hour work cycle gives students the opportunity to work with materials and achieve success through practice. Furthermore, through repetition, children learn to self-correct and problem solve.
#6. Freedom to communicate
Montessori encourages communication in the classroom. Children learn to discuss activities, problem solves, and develop their social skills.
#7. Freedom to make mistakes
Furthermore, the design of the Montessori materials encourages children to discover the outcome of the activity by themselves. Each material is designed with visual control of error. This guides the child to understand the outcome of the activity through hands-on learning experiences.
#8. Freedom from competition
One of the tenets of a good school is one that does not indulge the child in excessive competition. However, competition should only be given leeway if it involves bettering oneself. For instance, being better in academics than last year. So the competition here lies in the individual trying to make his personal best better and not trying to compete with another resulting in cheating or lack of sportsmanship or lack of team unity.
#9. Freedom to grow independently
The urge of any child is to be independent. If a parent or an adult stifles this basic instinct, then the child might turn out to be lazy, spoiled or over-indulgent. Children have to learn to do things on their own instead of having things done for them. They have to develop living skills that will prepare them for life.