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Montessori in Minute: Freedom Within Limits

What is Freedom Within Limits?

A purpose of the Montessori philosophy is to create an environment where children come to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them that is fueled by immersive, self-led exploration and the excitement of discovery.

Limits in the classroom are based on the same limits we experience in the real world. Children are taught to respect their learning materials, teachers, and classmates. Classes discuss the importance of safety, boundaries, and respect. Each student is asked to control themselves and their bodies. Each child has the same freedoms, and each must respect the other's space, so everyone can enjoy the same opportunities. Freedom is enjoyed by all members of the class and a lasting sense of community is formed through the children considering one another in their decision making.

We believe, as Dr. Montessori did, that children cannot develop discipline without first having this freedom. Vital tools for life-long learning like self-confidence and respect can only be forged through students exercising personal choice in school and beyond.

How Does Freedom Within Limits Work in the Classroom?

In the classroom, children are invited to choose what work to focus on, where they sit, who they will work with, and the order they will work on activities throughout the day. This shift puts students in control of their learning. Rather than passively receiving knowledge, children become motivated and cultivate the learning experience that works best for them.

Students enjoy this freedom because our teachers create environments that set each child up for success. The child feels empowered to choose their own work on the classroom’s carefully prepared shelves that gives every child access to what they need. The teacher ensures that the work available will challenge them and grow their understanding of the concepts.

Teachers also encourage each student’s freedom to make personal decisions about their bodies. Students are allowed to snack when they are hungry, use the restroom when needed, and rest or move their bodies. As adults, we work best when we have variation and choice, and the Montessori model recognizes that children thrive when they do too. The limits include classroom rules, teacher guidance and authority, and natural and logical consequences for actions. This creates a society that treats everyone equally and is both fair and equitable.

Montessori education creates a rich, stimulating, and safe environment for a child to grow their love of learning. The choices a student can make are all good by design, and they get the guiding support of the teachers.Every learning material available on the shelves have been carefully curated to support what students are learning in class and are appropriate for their level and skill. Classroom lessons are taught in several ways that ensure children learn in a way that makes sense to them, and the multi-age classrooms provide peer mentorship and guidance from multiple sources.

“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori in a Minute Series

Montessori schools center around five key areas of learning in the Montessori environment: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture. This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, New Jersey), the school hosts several Parent Education Nights a year to learn about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.

To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children aged 2 to fifth grade, please contact us.

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