Montessori,  Montessori Notes

Social Development

There is only one specimen of each object, and if a piece is in use when another wants it, the latter – if he is normalised – will wait for it to be released. Important social qualities derive from this. The child comes to see that he must respect the work of others, not because someone has said he must, but because this is a reality that he meets in his daily experience. There is only one between many children, so there is nothing for it but to wait. And since this happens every hour of the day for years, the idea of respecting others, and of waiting one’s turn, becomes an habitual part of life which always grows more mature.

…From their experiences another virtue develops in the children, the virtue of patience, which is a kind of denial of impulses by means of inhibition. So the character traits that we call virtues spring up spontaneously. We cannot teach this kind of morality to children of three, but experience can and because in other conditions normalisation is prevented so that people the world over see the children fighting for what they want – the fact that our children waited struck them as all the more impressive. I was often asked, “But how do you make these tinies behave so well? How do you teach them such discipline?” It was not I. It was the environment we had prepared so carefully and the freedom they found in it. Under these conditions, qualities formerly unknown in children of 3-6 were able to show themselves.

– Absorbent Mind

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