Interacting With Your Child in a Montessori Way – Part 3

Today we continue exploring the benefits of interacting with your child in a Montessori way by looking at a seemingly contradictory but key principle: Freedom Within Limits.


Freedom Within Limits

According to Maria Montessori, “A child’s work is to create the person he will become.” Freedom within limits is a Montessori principle that is very important. Freedom allows children to follow their interest and become more independent. Limits give children the latitude to be creative while establishing boundaries. If you observe a Montessori morning, you will find a 2 – 3 hour uninterrupted world period. During this time, children are receiving individual or small group lessons. It is also during this time that students choose their own activities. A child may begin in any area of the classroom, reading a book, washing clothes, using golden bead materials; the choices are boundless. As long as the child is engaged in meaningful world, the teacher does not get involved. She will observe. This freedom is not unlimited – the teacher has constructed an environment and invisible structure that the child has internalized. Each child earns his independence over time. In that same observation, you may notice one child who is always sitting next to the teacher or next to another student watching him/her work. The teacher is providing opportunities for that child to see how an activity is started, worked with, and then restored. The child observes this over and over again and will then ask the teacher if he too may have a turn to do such work. The teacher will present a lesson and step back to see if the child can work independently. If he works successfully, he will be left alone. If he needs more guidance, the teacher will provide him more opportunities to observe.

At home, parents should provide activities that engage the child’s interest and opportunities for the child to play alone. Televisions are not interactive and should be used sparingly. Puzzles, blocks, dolls, and other activities that stimulate imagination are encouraged. Avoid interrupting your child as they play.

Do not worry that you need to entertain your child. A bored child is a child who is yet able to solve his/her own problems. Create a jar with suggested activities for your child and continue to add to it.

Suggestions are:

  • Create a book (or picture book for young children)
  • Build a fort
  • Ride your bike
  • Brush the dog or cat
  • Listen to music and dance
  • Clean out the area where you sit in the care
  • Create a treasure hunt with clues
  • Bounce a ball
  • Journal
  • Play with costumes

Join us next Monday as we explore our next opportunity to interact with your child in a Montessori way, through Mutual Respect.


Westward, Ho!

Upper elementary students have spent the last couple months learning about (among many other subjects) Nevada and U.S. history.

In March they visited the Springs Preserve and Nevada History Museum and built wagon train models out of shoeboxes and canvas.


In April they visited the Eldorado Canyon Mine where they explored tunnels, panned for gold and played horseshoes.

They also held a Pioneer Day celebration where students dressed up in traditional outfits and had a blast line dancing, churning butter, quilling, making applesauce, playing pioneer-style outdoor games, making jumping jacks, creating thaumotropes, and more!

While learning about the exciting and action-packed Gold Rush era, students designed Gold Rush “trading cards” and advertisements to lure people out West; published newspapers with typical headlines of the time complete with ads, important events and classifieds section; and built sod house homestead replicas in the back garden, for which they received an authentic certificate of ownership.

Last week Elementary 5 students participated in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Activity where they learned how to make crucial decisions regarding survival and success. Now they are creating a class book to teach others about this thrilling and challenging time period. Ask your students for more details, and be sure to check out the Elementary 5 and Elementary 6 classroom blogs for some great pictures!