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Freedom & Discipline

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Montessori’s definition of discipline

The Montessori meaning of discipline is not the kind of external discipline, that is something the teacher does to control or command the child, for “listening doesn’t make a man”. Rather it is the child who internalizes the rules and feels that he/she is responsible for his/her acts. This is an “active discipline” attained when the child is “the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life”. Thus for Montessori, her definition of discipline is interchangeable for words like self-discipline, self-control, self-motivation, responsibility to the environment, self-initiated tasks and way to independence. All children have an inner discipline, which is developed by the freedom of the Montessori environment. The role of a Montessori director/directress is therefore in helping the children to develop this kind of discipline through activities that are according to their inner needs because “the fist glimmerings of discipline have their origin in work. A

Montessori’s definition of freedom (liberty)

Very often people think of freedom as “doing what we like” which is not the case with authentic Montessori education. One day, a lady visited Dr. Montessori’s school. She thought that in the school the children did what they liked as the school was known for its freedom. A little boy gracefully told her that “it is not that we do as we like, but we like what we do.” This is a vivid example of what real freedom is. Children learn best in an atmosphere that combines freedom with self -discipline. True freedom cannot exist without self-discipline and the development of skills for independent thought and action. Freedom in the Montessori classroom means free to do what is right. The child and the teacher work together in a prepared environment to build a community. The child learns to respect the rules. Choice is given for the child to choose his own…’ “The discipline we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is self disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent as a mute and as motionless as a paralytic. Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated. We claim that an individual is disciplined when he is a master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.” (The Absorbent Mind ).

It was by giving freedom that discipline arose naturally and it was this discovery that so fascinated Montessori and spurred her on to further investigation.

“…when the attractions of the new environment exert their spell, offering motives for constructive activity, then all these energies combine and the deviations can be dispersed. A unique type of child appears. A ‘new child’, but really it is the child’s true ‘personality’ allowed to construct itself normally.” (The Absorbent Mind p 185, Chap 19). My lecture starts from here…

Freedom and discipline are always misunderstood. Montessori’s idea of Freedom and discipline is totally different. we don’t discipline as Montessori used to. All her philosophy is to apply the knowledge on children. Especially the young ones. When they have something of their choice, they concentrate and will not indulge in random activity they do it repeat it and after that they wont get tired but will be satisfied. Given freedom to choose they become calm and controlled. Through that kind of freedom child reveals his own personality. Freedom is not ( wow! Im free to do what I want- this is deviation). For Montessori freedom means “liberation of his life from obsticles”. Childrens should not be let completely free. Not be allowed to do things without purpose. We must take care of their natural inner guides. I-e sensitive period and tendencies. Education taken in account with these real guides.one makes oneself free. I’ll make my self free when I have gained control on myself. This is the psychic pattern which begun from early childhood. Child has a vital urge to realize that animals are born with fixed pattern of behavior but human can adapt and get set in any situation.

There is a scope of development in many many areas. They learn that every single human being must develop his own power. There powers are brought through the inner guides and his environment. And the child when put in the environment to choose his activities all his needs are finally satisfied. Child will choose and start working on them. This help in discovering childs own personality. When the child is given this type of environment then he gain independence. The child is able to do all his work by himself. Through movement child gains independence and he is able to control his ownself. That’s why child needs to develop co-ordination of movement. Young children when you stop them from moving freely they start crying. their our duty is to help and satisfy child. Help me to help myself. We need to provide those activities which help the or encourages the child to gain independence and his relation with the environment grow more stronger through his own knowledge. Efforts are made by child. He receives It, perceives it and in this nobody is helping him. That success brings confidence to the child and he keeps himself involved in the activity.

This is how exploration goes on and all this results in making the child disciplined. This is how child can control. When a choice of work is given slowly and gradually he will stop all random activities. If u lack control u depend on others. Correct activity depends on mind. We cannot give the child an aimless activity. It is through movement that u achieve certain kind of personality. This is how concentration will be developed. Montessori says, two aspects of environment are very important. One is control of error and other is mixed ages and social interaction. Such environment is really beneficial for the child. This helps in realization of his or her own potential. To follow his own timetable. Helps the child in choosing activity. When there is no repetition there is hardly any development. If the choice is according to sensitive period and tendencies , slowly and gradually child is gaining independence, his own initiative from the inner directives gets satisfied. Montessori says choice is important but also should be a purposeful one, and make sure nobody disturbs the child. Praise is always distracting. This is how will will be developed. LIMITS:

Behavior of the child should be in control in the class.
Child should know the sorrect use of material.
Directress need to be very vigilant.
Keeping of set of each activity helps the child in gaining selfcontrol. Learns to wait for his turn. They should choose their own activity. Should be given freedom to choose. Groups of whole class are not allowed.

Self control doesn’t comes in one day. This cannot be cultivated. All this is self control, not imposed by anyone or making a child slave of yourself. Freedom and discipline are very closely related. With right kind of freedom inner discipline is developed. It’s a gradual maturation of the will and child will develop this through purposeful activity. Obedience is the result of this kind of self control. It develops slowly but linked with development of will. Freedom, discipline, obedience are closely related. STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT OF WILL.

1st Stage.
If u give a command to a child and he obeys you it means that the command was according to his inner directives. 2nd STAGE.
When the child will be able to understand and has gained self control and is ready to obey all the time. Strengthening of will has taken place. 3rd STAGE. When child is waiting for your command and will happily do whatever you’ve given him. A superior personality command. Will wait and obey his command with a believe that this person will take me on the right path.

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