The Montessori Approach to Student Behavior


Discipline versus Self Control- To discipline literally means “to educate” or “to train;” yet the phrase is most often given the meaning "to punish." TMES seeks to minimize teacher imposed control by facilitating the growth of self-discipline in the child. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the only true discipline is "active" or "inner” discipline, which is developed by the child himself or herself as s/he works at interesting tasks at home or at school.

Freedom to Do What's Right- The ultimate goal of discipline is student self-control in preparation for a successful adult life. Within the Montessori philosophy of education is the concept of freedom within limitations. Dr. Montessori, when she was once abruptly confronted by individual demanding to know about "all this freedom in your classrooms," is reported to have replied, "Children always have the freedom to do what is right. They never have the freedom to do what is wrong."

Making Appropriate Choices- This concept is indeed the guiding principle for discipline in a Montessori classroom. There are many choices that children can make that are right and appropriate. However, if they make a wrong choice, it will always have consequences that come with it. TMES is committed to creating an environment in which learning is a rewarding experience for students. TMES will create a learning zone where independence flourishes, where students are safe in all respects (i.e., free from inappropriate and abusive language and actions) and where distractions to learning and development are minimized for all students.

Clear Rules and Expectations- Some parents are under the impression that Montessori is completely permissive when it comes to discipline. This is absolutely untrue. The school's ground rules are always communicated to students at the beginning of the year. Classroom rules are clearly posted in each room and the teaching staff and administration consistently and continually reinforce necessary adherence to these rules. The purpose of ground rules is to aid in the development of self-respect, respect for others and respect for the environment.


TMES/TMMS is first and foremost a place for learning where the educational climate is strictly controlled to create the optimum environment for teachers to teach and students to learn.