Those who are new to the Montessori method dive deep into books and articles to find just the right level of knowledge to educate their children and set up a happy environment in their home. But as a trained Montessori teacher, I have a big Montessori red flag to share with those new to the Montessori method.
The Montessori Red Flag
I was reading a lesson plan on a “Montessori” website when I came across a note about a group activity. The content was ok until I read the last sentence. It said to have lollipops or balloons to give the children as a prize. Ahh! My Montessori red flag went up.
I want to assume the author either forgot or doesn’t know that when using the Montessori method we don’t give prizes!
The reasoning is very simple: The child doesn’t need external rewards.
The satisfaction of completing an activity is enough. If we give them prizes, they learn to look for something as a reward, rather than being satisfied and proud of themselves. Rather than having the intrinsic satisfaction that they completed something.
This same topic came up in my Montessori training. My teacher was explaining this concept to the class when it hit me. It totally made sense because of my own self study!
At the time, I was really interested in Korean culture and was learning all I could about it. No one was MAKING me learn about the culture or trying to give me an incentive to learn. I didn’t need any of that external incentive. The motivation to learn more comes from inside! If we follow the needs of the child, they won’t need prizes or external rewards.
We would love to help you with this process as you learn more about the Montessori method. We have created a very supportive and active group called the Montessori By Mom Family. We would be thrilled if you join us there and ask any questions directly to seasoned parents and Nathan and myself.
Also, we have a really amazing post on the Montessori approach and how it related to parenting. Hopfully that post will answer a couple more questions you may have.
And did you know the Montessori approach can save parents time? It’s true!
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– Nathan & Teresa Hadsall