“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”
A Montessori environment offers many opportunities for the child to choose from. This ability to choose for oneself develops successively during the initial phase of life and continues till adulthood. Such indispensable skills like willpower or self-control results from the many little choices of daily life in a
Montessori school and certainly strengthens with practice.
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children are driven by a powerful force from within. When their energy and spirit are placed in an environment that answers to their inquisitiveness, they respond
with enthusiasm, fondness, ability to concentrate, and curiosity. Thus, a favorable environment instigates them to indulge in an unfathomable quest of discovery.
What do we actually mean by “Will”?
“A fixed and persistent intent or purpose.”
In simple words, Will is the ability to demonstrate self-management, control one’s impulses, and ultimately inherit the inner strength required to make the best decisions in any given circumstances.
You might be familiar with the old English saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” It implies that if you have a steadfast belief to achieve something, you will surely find a way to make it happen. This implies that when we are wilful about doing something, we are impulsive and determined to put the best of our efforts into the respective task. But on the contrary, if we impose our will on someone else, we are trying to make them do things they don’t desire to do. And this might lead them to protest, refuse to co-operate, rebel or even widen the communication gap.
Therefore, being cognizant about the importance of “Will” in a child’s developmental process, Dr. Montessori emphasized how crucial it is. She knew that it is a stepping stone for a child’s developmental process which requires constant practice. As a result, it became a constant of the Montessori environment.
“To stimulate life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the first duty of the educator.”
“EVERY GOLD, DOESN’T GLITTER”
People often complain about the lack of material available for every child in a Montessori environment. But they fail to recognize the actual reason behind this. They are ignorant of the fact that everything in the Montessori environment is well thought about and is thereby carefully created. Though there are umpteen reasons behind not keeping everything available for each one, the most important one is to give the children opportunities to exert their will. They learn to wait until the material is available, to delay their appeasement, and to inherit patience.
The trivial habit of choosing a material from the available options enhances their will power. Hence, their will strengthens with every use. Every movement encourages the control of the body through the exertion of the mind; the will is at work in the smallest and largest ways.
PARENT’S CONTRIBUTION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF WILL
Parents shall not suppress their child’s will or subsume it on their own. They shall not make their children perform anything by coercive means. Hence, they shall be provided with enough liberty to make their own choices and given opportunities to employ their will safely. For instance, sometimes
parents shall let them decide what they want to wear for a weekend party or what they would prefer for lunch, perhaps this should be allowed within an acceptable limit.
Will is also developed through order in a child’s life. Order supplements a better understanding of the surroundings. The more unfailing the routines and the rules are, the more adaptable they become
for a child. In this way, they can easily and naturally be bequeathed in a child’s routine and further help to enhance their overall personality. Working in order will bring familiarity, ease, and comfort. And living within limits, according to guidelines and rules will bring self-discipline. Therefore, this way they can mould themselves into their better selves.