Discipline and Obedience from the Montessori Perspective

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“The power to obey is the last phase in the development of the will, which in its turn has made obedience possible.” (Montessori, 1988, p.239)

Montessori believed that the disorderly and disobedient acts of a young child where from those actions that he/she had yet to develop and so where unable to control successfully.
Discipline and obedience could not therefore be inflicted on a young child as had been traditionally thought, nor could it be sustained through rewards and punishments. “Obedience is seen as something which develops in the child in much the same way as other aspects of his character.” (Montessori, 1988, p.234)

As Montessori observed, obedience is a developmental process and can not occur unless the child has developed
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When he/she is finished with the activity, he/she returns the apparatus back to its allocated place, keeping the order within the environment. All the materials contain a control of error, avoiding the need for a teacher to highlight the child's mistake, allowing him/her the freedom to correct himself/herself, with out the need for adult intervention. He/she is then left and allowed the freedom to carry out his/her task, as many times as he/she wants, for as long as he/she wants without any unnecessary interruptions.

With this constant cycle of activity begins a process and through the many repetitions of the exercise the child gradually becomes aware, and conscious of his/her actions that his/her hands are performing. Through this awareness, his/her actions can no longer be considered a product of an inner desire, but have become actions performed with a consciousness and deliberation.
“That which at first was but a vital impulse (horme) has become a deliberate act. The child's first movements where instinctive. Now he acts consciously and voluntarily and with this comes the awakening of the spirit.” (Montessori, 1988, p.231)

From observations made by Maria Montessori we have come to the understanding that discipline is a maturational process and can not be present in a child who has yet to develop his/her own will. (Montessori, 1988, p.234)
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