Children begin to develop their personalities from the moment they enter the world. Children are born with the basic innate drive to relate to others and by the time they are toddlers, the budding infrastructure of their personality is laid out. In 1946, Maria Montessori gave advisement that children “need the society of other children at this age.”
As part of the Montessori Method, each individual student selects his or her own activity to complete. These activities are undertaken out of both self-seeking and social motivations; as children become increasingly independent, they become cognizant of how their actions benefit or affect others. This realization leads to children desiring the social company of their peers rather than the actual materials. This is called“constructive social reform.”The choice is made to involve themselves in this ‘society’ rather than being forcibly prompted because ultimately, cooperation must be learned and cannot be forced. Having classes with children of mixed aged allows the younger children to observe the older children’s individual social development which in turn promotes them to aspire to work at achieving the same advanced level for themselves. Likewise, the sense of altruism and helpfulness felt by the older children provides them with a sense of purpose. Harmonious joint activities also build communication, cohesiveness, and healthy communication skills.
The Montessori Method also encourages students to learn about courteous behavior. This lesson is part of Montessori’s pro-social behavioral curriculum that makes social courtesies, refined mannerisms and distinguished manners second nature to the child from a very early age. These activities assist in constructing model social behavior.
Montessori students are shown to be much more progressive in social development areas such as reasoning, justice and fairness when compared to non-Montessori students. The children are also more emotionally positive, engaging in positive and constructive play rather than aggressive forms of play. Levels of self-confidence and participatory social interaction for longer periods of time are also personality traits noted in Montessori students. High school students who went to a head start Montessori program were noticeably ahead of their counterparts as well. Montessori educated students proved to be more adept at following directions, completing work on time, listening attentively, using correct grammar and spelling. They also had greater class enthusiasm, multicultural awareness and self-esteem. There is no doubt that children who attend Montessori now blossom into respectable scholars later.