Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
When we set up progress sheets for our children so that we could monitor the children as they move from infants through toddlerhood and then into the primary years, it became apparent that motor development, social skills, history, learning styles, and creativity were all categories we wanted in the forefront and not get overlooked. As we refined what we wanted for our children, an interesting item appeared in the social skills category. The tag line read “sense of fairness” and under that was two categories: one for self and another for others.

As we considered the ramifications of “is this a valid curriculum item”, “what would Dr. Montessori say”, and “what’s the importance for a child to learn fairness, first for herself, and then for others”, we had to define fairness for ourselves. In the curriculum analysis, at least that this point, is an item for accuracy. Another word for that is honesty. It comes before fairness because a part of fairness is being honest.

Honesty is telling the facts as they happened, and telling all the facts. Most of us learn at an early age to leave out the part that puts us in a bad light. “He hit me” is the story that’s told. The part that’s left out is that she pinched first or called a name. “She took my pencil” is the shortened version from, of course, it was her pencil in the first place. Our highly verbal children learn quickly to change terminology to put a different slant on the story. “Took” becomes “borrowed” and a little pushing match becomes a dramatic, tearful story. As adults, we have a big part of the honest responsibility in conflicts with children. If we’re threatening or emotional in a situation, a child will lie to defend himself. If we punish instead of discipline, a child will avoid full accuracy in analyzing what happened. We work on accuracy and thought processes with discussions on circle like “Which comes first, the push or the hit?”

So then we go to what’s fair. Fair is not equal. There’s also a lot of inaccuracy in analyzing “fair”. An older child gets to stay up later. The other team won. Johnny didn’t get in trouble when he did that. Marianne gets to use her lovey at naptime. At the school, every one gets what they need, not necessarily what they want. Everyone follows the same rules – all the same rules. Everyone is given the same respect as everyone else.

When we come to the highest level of accepting accountability of not only what is fair for ourselves but also what is fair for our friend, it becomes a very high-order thinking level. Our country is finest when we don’t agree with what our adversary says, but we’ll fight for his right to say it. If we can teach our children to honestly decide what is fair and to have the perseverance to stand up for that – and then to stand up for what is fair for everyone, then we all win.