The Montessori Philosophy
The Montessori philosophy is centered on the entire child, from physical development to linguistic improvements, sense-training, preparation for practical life, and so much more. In order to accomplish this in a tangible way for each child, the teaching style is decidedly objective, presenting an unusual richness of didactic material while establishing a method of observation based on the liberty of the pupils in their spontaneous manifestations.
This pedagogical method and its observations has for its base the liberty of the child; and liberty is activity.
Further, discipline must come through liberty. The concept of discipline in this philosophy is very different from that commonly accepted. If discipline is founded upon liberty, then discipline itself must necessarily be active. The Montessori philosophy does not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered as artificially silent, as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined.
An individual is considered disciplined when he is master of himself, and can, therefore, regulate his own conduct when it shall be necessary to follow some rule of life. Such a concept of active discipline is not easy to comprehend or to apply, but it certainly contains a great educational principle, very different from the old-time absolute and un-discussed coercion to immobility.
No one can be free unless he is independent: therefore, the first, active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence. Little children, from the moment in which they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.
The man who, through his own efforts, is able to perform all the actions necessary for his comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in doing so multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual.