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August 07, 2017

13 Montessori Quotes on Discipline

When sharing little glimpses of our life, it can inadvertently seem as if we have no conflict, no difficulties. But, that's not true. Montessori children are not perfect. Montessori parents are not perfect. Lately, we've struggled here with a summer lull as routines ebb and flow. It's led to some challenges for both me and the kids. 

An important reminder, for myself, on Montessori and discipline has been necessary. It's always good to remind ourselves during the tough times why we are taking the approach we take and where we are ultimately headed. I thought I would share, because this part of Montessori is so important, and so hard to come to terms with for those of us raised on traditional discipline. Here are 13 Montessori quotes on discipline

13 Montessori Quotes on Discipline, Montessori thoughts for parents
"Discipline must come through liberty." 

"We have a concept of discipline very different from that commonly accepted." 

"Since the child now learns to move rather than to sit still, he prepares himself not for the school, but for life." 

"Humanity shows itself in all its intellectual splendor during this tender age as the sun shows itself at dawn, and the flower in the first unfolding of the petals; and we must respect religiously, reverently, these first indications of individuality." 

"To be thus helpful it is necessary rigorously to avoid the arrest of spontaneous movements and the imposition of arbitrary tasks. It is of course understood, that here we do not speak of useless or dangerous acts, for these must be suppressed, destroyed." 

"This idea, that life acts of itself, and that in order to study it, to divine its secrets or to direct its activity, it is necessary to observe it and to understand it without intervening -- this idea, I say, is very difficult for anyone to assimilate and to put into practice." 

"The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity, as often happens in the case of the old-time discipline. And all this because our aim is to discipline for activity, for work, for good; not for immobility, not for passivity, not for obedience." 

13 Montessori Quotes on Discipline, Montessori thoughts for parents
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"Once we have accepted and established such principles, the abolition of prizes and external forms of punishment will follow naturally. Man, disciplined through liberty, begins to desire the true and only prize which will never belittle or disappoint him -- the birth of human power and liberty within that inner life of his from which his activity must spring." 

"There is one thing [the teacher] must never do and that is, to interfere by praising a child's work, or punishing him if it is wrong, or even by correcting his mistakes." 

"The undisciplined child enters into discipline by working in the company of others; not by being told that he is naughty...Improvement and rectification can only come about when the child practices voluntarily for a long time."  

"Many errors correct themselves as we go through life." 

"The children must be free to choose their own occupations, just as they must never be interrupted in their spontaneous activities. No work may be imposed -- no threats, no rewards, no punishments." 

"This is the period in which discipline becomes established: a form of active peace, of obedience and love, when work is perfected and multiplied, just as when the flowers in the spring get their colors and prepare a distant harvest of sweet and nourishing fruit." 


It's so refreshing to read that even Maria knows this is new, and different, and hard. Discipline is not something that will happen overnight. And, it can't come from us; it comes from within each child. It's active. It's individual. It does not mean obedience. Thank you, Dr. Montessori, I needed this reminder.

These quotes can be found in their entirety in The Montessori Method and The Absorbent Mind.

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