Montessori Ground Rules

As the term implies, there are established limits of behavior which enables a number of children moving and working in close proximity to do so in harmony. In the Montessori Classroom, a child may move about freely but not run or push. He or she may talk softly and respectfully but never shout. When the child is finished with his or her work all materials must be returned to the shelf in proper order and in its proper place. The following shows how the child’s rights and responsibilities are nurtured, developed and supported in a Montessori Environment:

Right: The child is free to work with any material displayed in the environment that he/she has had a lesson.
Responsibility: He or she must use the material respectfully. He or she must not harm the material, themselves, or others. The material may not be used in a way that disturbs the activities of others in the environment.
Right: The child may work on a table or rug, whichever is suitable to the work chosen.
Responsibility: The child may not work at or on a display shelf because it would obstruct access to the other children in the classroom.
Right: The child has the freedom to use the room as his or her needs dictate within the constraints of the rules.
Responsibility: The child will restore the environment during and after an exercises. The child is responsible for mopping spills, rolling up Montessori rugs, placing the chair under its spot at the table and returning his or her work to the appropriate location on the shelf.
Right: The child has the right to work undistracted by others. She or he may initiate, complete or repeat an exercise along and without a break in concentration.
Responsibility: No child touches the work of another without invitation to do so. No child is allowed to interfere with another’s learning cycle. If the child must leave the work temporarily he or she may continue at a later time with confidence that it will be as it was left.
Right: The child has the right not to join a group activity. The child may continue working with individual exercises during group activities or may stand apart as an observer of group activities.
Responsibility: The child is not allowed to interfere or disrupt an activity she or he has chosen not to join. This teaches responsibility to the group.
Right: The child has the right to work alone.
Responsibility: The child is not forced or encouraged to share his or her work. With appropriate materials and reasonable respectful ground rules, sharing comes as part of the natural process. Generosity of spirit develops from within as the child matures with a sense of self, grounded in confidence and security.
Right: The child has the right to do nothing. Invariably in “doing nothing” the child is learning through observation, thinking and resting.
Responsibility: The child’s idleness is not allowed to disturb or distract others in the classroom.

We encourage parents to both understand and honor the concept of the child’s rights in the context of their responsibilities. We encourage parents to foster the Montessori concept of Rights and Responsibilities by recognizing it when it shows up at home and in honoring your child by acknowledging, respecting, and incorporating what she or he may be sharing with you about what they are learning in school, both academically and socially.

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