Freedom within limits

What is freedom within limits?

Freedom within limits is an empowering concept. It embraces the notion of the child as an explorer who is capable of learning and doing for him/herself. Montessori encourages freedom within limits through the design of the prepared environment. Especially relevant are the low open shelves, logically ordered activities, and child-friendly work spaces of the Montessori classroom. In effect, this encourages the child to move freely around the classroom, and choose his/her own work within limits of appropriate behaviour. These limits are the ground rules of the Montessori classroom.

What are the limits of Montessori classroom?

There are three ground rules of the Montessori classroom. All other ground rules stem from these three.

1) Respect for oneself;
2) Respect for others; and
3) Respect for the environment.

In the first place, respect for oneself refers to teaching children how to work safely and productively in the Montessori classroom. Children are free to choose their activities, provided that they have been shown a presentation of the activity, and know how to use the materials respectfully to avoid self-harm.

Types of freedom in the Montessori environment

  1. Freedom to move

By allowing freedom of movement, children learn to explore their environment; and therefore discover their interests.

  1. Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice is fundamental to the Montessori approach. This is because choice allows children to discover their needs, interests and abilities.

  1. Freedom of time

Freedom of time allows children to work with the same material for as long as t

  1. Freedom to repeat

The three-hour work cycle gives students the opportunity to work with materials and achieve success through practice. Furthermore, through repetition, children learn to self-correct and problem-solve.

  1. Freedom to communicate

Children learn to discuss activities, problem solve, and develop their social skills.

  1. Freedom to make mistakes

All material is designed with a visual control of error. This guides the child to understand the outcome of the activity through hands-on learning experiences.

How does freedom within limits benefit the child?

Freedom within limits encourages children to become respectful members of their classroom community. Through real life experiences, children learn that freedom is choosing to do what is best for themselves and others. In conclusion, freedom within limits teaches children how to become independent and confident students who respect the rules of their freedom.

Author is : Lungile Nala