Punishment & Reward
Dr. Montessori believed that using rewards & punishment inhibits the development of self-discipline. Rewards and punishment deny children the opportunity to make their own decisions and to be responsible for their own behavior. Rather than learning how to analyze situations and make wise decisions, children may make decisions based on what an adult might do to (punishment) or for (reward) them.
Logical and Natural Consequences in the Montessori Environment.
Our goal as Montessori parents is to raise independent, productive citizens of the world. The purpose of defining and understanding natural and logical consequences is to motivate and allow children to make responsible decisions, not to force their submission.
Montessori Parenting: Logical and Natural ConsequencesNatural consequences - children learn from the natural order of the physical world.
- Example: If you leave the gate open, the dog will likely run away.
- Example: If you accidently break a neighbor’s window, it still must be replaced, and you must use your own money (or work) to pay for it.
Sonnie McFarland (Shining Mountains Press) suggests these steps when setting up a system based on natural and logical consequences.
- Discuss acceptable behavior prior to the event.
- Talk about what it will look like for the child to successfully manage the experience.
- Express confidence that the child can be successful.
- Talk about what the consequence will be if the child is not successful. (It must be related to the experience.)
- Get the child’s agreement.
- If the child is successful, express appreciation.
- If the child is not successful, calmly and firmly apply the consequence. (Do not nag or lecture!)
- Express confidence that the child will be successful the next time.
Mom: And when it’s time go …
Son: There will be no fussing or crying
As we approached the front door the next day, we repeated our mantra together. When it was time to leave, my child looked at me, nodded, and politely helped clean up and thanked the mother for a lovely time. We were all pleasantly surprised!
When we got to the car, I told him how much I appreciated how peacefully and happily the play date had ended and that I was sure he could continue his behavior in the future. Our mantra worked well for the next several years, as a gentle reminder of expectations for behavior, and an unspoken reminder of consequences.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, July 9, 2009.