3 Misconceptions About Montessori Parents

I have heard a lot of misconceptions about families who live a Montessori-inspired lifestyle with their children. If you don’t know anything about Maria Montessori’s philosophy and principles and you’re going based off what you’ve “seen” or “heard” about Montessori families, I can’t say that I blame you. You see this perfectly organized home and individuals who somehow have seemingly unrealistic amounts of enthusiasm about parenting.

For the sake of clarifying what Montessori parents are “all about”, let’s talk about three misconceptions you may hear (or think) about Montessori-inspired parents and their families:

1. Montessori parents are too rigid

2. Montessori parents give their child too much freedom (and they do not set any boundaries)

3. Montessori parents appear to be perfect, or act like they (or their children are)

If you have ever found yourself agreeing with any of the above, please do keep reading. I promise to keep the responses short, sweet, and to the point.

1. Montessori parents are too rigid

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I’ve recently been told by someone that I am a granola bar away from being too crunchy. In other words, if I don’t stop this so called “Montessori madness” that I will end up too rigid and strict as a parent.

Let’s start with some quotes by Montessori herself and see where that takes us in terms of the role of a parent (or something educator), shall we:

“The fundamental help in development, especially with little children of 3 years of age, is not to interfere. Interference stops activity and stops concentration.” —The Child, Society and the World (Unpublished Speeches and Writing)*

“The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for his own acts, or to be the master of his own force of will is recognizable in the adult who lets others guide his will and feels a constant need for approval of others.” —Education and Peace*

“A room in which all the children move about usefully, intelligently, and voluntarily, without committing any rough or rude act, would seem to me a classroom very well disciplined indeed.” —The Montessori Method*

“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.” –The Absorbent Mind

* quote found at American Montessori Society

Rigidity is impossible when living a Montessori-minded lifestyle. Our job as parents and educators are to prepare and beautify the child’s environment, make it as accessible as possible, be available if they need our assistance, and to stand back and let. them. be.

I am passionate about the ins and outs of parenting, but I don’t obsess over trying to be THAT parent, forcing my child to “do as I say”.

In our home, my child is encouraged to explore the world around her without the pressure of being told what to do with the materials or where to go in her environment.

Rigidity isn’t a ‘thing’ in Montessori.

And then there’s the other point of view as well…

2. Montessori parents give their child too much freedom (and they do not set any boundaries)

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Understanding the child is both essential and necessary if one wants to pursue a Montessori lifestyle. A child is a whole being, but also one who is naturally driven to test limits and find confidence with their caretaker.

A child who is given freedom without appropriate boundaries is not being helped or encouraged, but rather neglected. Growth and proper development cannot happen without appropriate limits and boundaries.

I do allow my daughter to explore our home, but I don’t allow her to turn that exploration into harming the environment (i.e she can look through my books, but I don’t allow her to tear the pages).

A word from Maria Montessori about freedom of the child:

“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission.” Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook*

“To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind*

*quote found at Living Montessori Now

And last but certainly not least:

3. Montessori parents appear to be perfect, or act like they (or their children are)

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If there is one thing you will not see or hear from a Montessori parent, it is the public shaming of their child. Respect for the child is the most important component of the Montessori approach in educating and parenting. You cannot openly shame your child or their weaknesses and mistakes for others to hear and claim to respect your child as a whole being.

Montessori parents who post about their children online often use social platforms to spread awareness about this philosophy. They do so by showing pictures and videos of their children eating independently, completing complex tasks, and venturing into nature. By no means do they say (or even think) that they are perfect parents or that their children are extraordinary. They mean to educate, document, and inspire.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future… Let us treat them with all the kindness which we would wish to help to develop in them.” -Maria Montessori*

*quote found at Apple Montessori Schools

Montessori parents are open to discussing their struggles as parents, but prefer to focus on the positive aspects of parenthood, accepting it as a gift and responsibility. They look at parenting optimistically and take each difficult moment as a lesson and try to move forward with possible solutions. They are very reflective and open to growing and learning alongside their children, working to become better parents and caretakers.

I hope this helps you understand why these three misconceptions about Montessori parents are simply untrue, and perhaps you have been inspired to look deeper into the Montessori philosophy.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, whether you are a Montessori-inspired parent or someone who has more questions about Maria Montessori’s teachings!

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