Children create themselves – All children have a natural internal need to learn, explore and share their discoveries. They instinctively know what they need and when they need it. The adults' task is to give them space and time to attain skills and knowledge of their own strengths, at their own tempo and in their own manner and for the actual joy from the work that they manage to do themselves. The children choose what they will work on, when and with whom. They choose the prepared tools that fulfil their actual need and interest. They acceptance of responsibility is part of the choice. The children not only get to know the wider opportunities as well as the limits of their skills and intellect, items, time and the limits that their parents and teachers impose. They have space to work in, neither the teacher or other children will disturb them. The tools have their purpose and their place, where they are returned so others can take them. Freedom goes hand in hand with respecting ones own strength and other people and rules.
The teacher is a guide, partner and mentor – She herself must do whatever she wants from the children. If she wants respect, she herself must act with respect. She listens and observes the children’s needs and incites their interest according to these needs, offering them possibilities and pathways. She gives the children space for individual work, only helping if the child asks, without evaluating, correcting or advising. The principle of a control of error is built into Montessori tools so that the child is able to uncover the error. All children are happy when their work is successful. When they manage it themselves, without an adult’s advice and help, the joy is several times greater.
The hand is the soul's tool – An old Chinese proverb says “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand.” Children get to know the world through their senses. First they touch things, turn them around, shake them, taste them, smell them and listen to them. Only then do they give them a name, compare, classify and sort them. Montessori tools are based on the principle that work by hand is the foundation for understanding things and processes, for the development of thinking and speaking. It is the path "from grasping to understanding."
You can find more about Montessori at www.montessoricr.cz or www.montessori-ami.org, for example.