Children in a montessori are driven and hungry for work ,They constantly look up to all teachers. I have Fond memories of all normalised children, perfectly balanced, virtous and always at peace . Work and virtues always always go hand in hand in the environment, I would not have second thought of it , lofty though but I always strove and felt driven to inculcate them in all my children.
Virtues is not about mere practices or beliefs It is based on the simple wisdom about living by the best within us – courage, honor, justice, kindness and all of our innate virtues. Schools and businesses, are using the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project with transformational effect.
Maria Montessori cautioned, that children not only hear everything, but they also see, imprint, and even mirror our behaviors. The children watch the adults around them from birth. Everything we do, everything we say is imprinted in her/his memory. In her book, The Child in the Family, Montessori makes her point :
The children are impressionable to such a degree that the adult ought to monitor everything they say and do, for everything is literally engraved in the child’s mind. enormous responsibility! I have always wondered at how children idolize the teachers and take their word as final. MAM told me soooo! we always hear.
Mentoring, training, managing ,supervising trained and untrained staff is a humongous task where I had to wield the stern sharp look, as well as a carrot and stick approach to get to perfection .Parents in a Montessori school need to understand how important behavioral modeling is for their children.
Modeling Montessori Behavior in the Home:
Discrepancies between home and school environments can be challenging for children and for the Montessori program. From the beginning of Montessori Parent Education Program, which usually begins as soon as a prospective parent enters the doors of our Montessori school, clearly communicate that the role of parents is to put their beliefs in what their children should do and say into action. I have counselled many parents before they take admission as to the vision and mission of our institution and the ideals of the Montessori philosophy.I have put out tough standards all along in training teachers, some targets they would reach if they strive ,This means becoming an active role model for teachers,parents and children. Meaning, walking the Talk for which we pay a price and is non negotiable . Many at times it is seemed and heard in quite whispers, she is a tough cookie, old fashioned ,So be it, i said ! I am not here to be sugary and nice but to do a good job of turning in future leaders and entrepreneurs and reaching the goal of normalisation of children .
Virtues play a key role in the Montessori philosophy. A Montessori teacher knows that even though she may have the Montessori curriculum and prepared Montessori environment, unless the intent is for the good of the child , all the preparation in the world will be for naught. Tomorrow is a crucial part of our work .I have always delivered before being reminded of my task. In fact, Montessori said “Not words but virtues are her main qualifications” (Discovery of the Child). And since the education of the child occurs both in and out of the Montessori classroom, all adults in the child’s life play a vital role in the education and development of the personality of the child.
Reminding Montessori parents that although I am not expecting them to be perfect, they should make a very conscious effort to be a positive role model for their children. Asking them to think about what they value and if their behavior demonstrates that value to their children. Here are examples of a few questions to keep in mind:
- Are we living our daily life in such a way that would want our child to follow our example?
- do we practise healthy habits ourselves ?
- Do we tell “ white lies”?
- Do we turn off the radio (TV, computer, cell phone) as we come Home and listen when our child speaks ?
- Do we use the language of respect, not just with our child, but with everyone we interact with?
- Do we express rage when children throw a tantrum?
- Do we do a lot of positive and empowering talk , to show them perseverance in effort.
- are we permissive and being extravagant in our lifestyle ?
- do we indulge and bribe children with gifts and goods ?
In a Montessori children learn wisdom, virtue, courage, honesty, and character by hearing, reading, seeing and through stories that model these virtues. Our world is rich with literature about individual heroes who have made the earth a better place for others. Reading these stories and poems aloud to children builds a strong curriculum for Character Education in conjunction with learning .The Montessori classroom can also be the environment where children learn to practice character virtues, and recognize these virtues every day.
Character Education in a Montessori
Many a times positive strokes for children at good behaviour has resulted in dropping of all bad habits in the environment.
some examples of character virtues that we can work around,
Responsibility, Fortitude, Courage, Compassion, Caring, Honesty, Fairness, Hard Work, Perseverance, Politeness, Sharing, Courtesy, Kindness, Patience, Awareness, Flexibility, Humility.
Encouraging Montessori children to do further work with the Virtues, practicing it at all times , engaging children in the virtues of grace and courtesy helps. Even everyday actions, such as an older child helping a younger child, or a practical life activity such as caring for the environment, can be acknowledged and celebrated in the Montessori classroom.
Character Education continues to be one of the most important aspects of the Montessori curriculum, across all ages. The Montessori teacher and parents are important role models and guides toward the “education of the whole child” through thoughtful practice and shared experience.
It supports Montessori’s philosophy and methodology beautifully. Recognizing that virtues are ‘the gifts from within’ many visitors have always wondered the calm the serenity that prevails in the environment
In addition to the virtues we often use in our Montessori philosophy,adults are enriched by learning to fine tune some useful virtues like moderation, tact, assertiveness, enthusiasm, purposefulness, diligence and inspiring and motivating teachers to role model them is integral to success and posterity of the institution.
Using the language of the virtues to ACKNOWLEDGE the beautiful ‘gems’ that children are developing, to help them recognize they can use these gems in a variety of situations. practising it at Home is crucial , what with world of technology ,corporate culture and instant solutions its important as educators to use the language of the virtues to GUIDE children to a virtue that will help them handle a situation confidently. We use the language of the virtues to guide children with a virtue that will help them avoid a problem in the future.”
Teacher’s Experience with The Virtues
The thing I am most proud of from my work, is how the Virtues work in the Montessori environment . Montessori always offers so many incredible teachable moments, that I feel had the most impact on children of anything we teach them. BE it eating healthy food to all good habits.
There is always a moment or activity with the virtues:
breaks posed lots of conflicts. Teachers never had the time to give each and every child the attention they were seeking for resolution . So, I created a piece of paper (and made over a hundred copies) with this outline: and gave it to teachers to reflect on
- What happened:
- What bothered us about it:
- What we did to solve it:
- Some other approaches to solving it:
- Virtues we need to call on to help us be right now:
The Five Strategies of Virtue development
- Speaking the Language of the Virtues
Language has great influence to empower or discourage. Self-esteem is built when shaming or blaming language is replaced by naming the Virtues, our innate qualities and character. Virtues are used to acknowledge, guide and correct. The Language of the Virtues helps us remember what kind of people we want to be.
- Recognize Teachable Moments
Viewing life as an opportunity for learning, recognizing our mistakes, our test and challenges as opportunities to hone our virtues. It is an approach to bring out the best in each other by asking, “What can I learn from this situation?”, “What do I need to do differently next time?”, and “How can I make it right?”
- Set Clear Boundaries
Clear boundaries, connected to a Shared Vision of the virtues ,Clear ground rules based on virtues built-in an atmosphere of order .
- Honor the Spirit
School spirit grows through simple practices that illuminate our sense of values, such as silence activity in the day can bring a sense of peace to the day. Reflections are key to all our work, Celebrations make special events meaningful.
Virtues qualify us and leave a lasting impression on young minds , go ahead give your best to children in leading an enriched and virtuous life .
They are necessary for a child’s well-being and happiness. Once they are learned, they will last the child a lifetime.