Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Current Editorial
Values in Action... Leadership

Our series on values started with an overview. In that overview we mentioned we were adding in a new value and breaking off another. We felt that these new values were important enough to merit their own emphasis . Because we have already covered this week's value, self-reliance, we wanted to address one of our new values. This related value is leadership. In a standard classroom where chairs sit in a row and order is maintained by a central figurehead this is a concept that borders on being moot. But in an ungraded Montessori classroom leadership is developed in numerous ways as the child moves through the environment and progresses through the work.

Once again we are going to break from the standards of these articles. This week we want to dig in a little as to how we can develop leadership in children as educators and as parents. And make no mistake, all children can develop leadership skills.

- The Montessori concept of follow the child is a cornerstone principle in developing leadership. As young children freely explore their environment they will find work that they enjoy and that they master. This is the foundation of future leadership as a child who understands work well and knows what it took for they themselves to master it is an ideal mentor and instructor for other children in the same situation.

- Implicit in the prior scenario is that the child must be free to assume that leader role without reservation or permission. The Montessori classroom facilitates this in numerous ways, but none more clearly than having mixed ages present where the child can be seen as a leader and not as simply a peer.

- Children who are free to explore, fail and eventually succeed are far more familiar with the self-esteem that comes from hard earned success and are far more forgiving of failures they have experienced themselves. This perspective is one that facilitates empathy as they see younger children working on the same work they have mastered. In the Montessori classroom, real tools, sized for children extends opportunities for success beyond the work itself and into the realm of self-care and care for the work environment.

- The expectation of action versus stasis is huge in leadership. Leaders examine their situation and speak up or act without being told to do so. A "normal" classroom with rows of chairs, requirements for raised hands before being allowed to contribute, and the obvious implication that the child is always somehow "less" of something than the figurehead in the room is anathema to a Montessori classroom.

- Finally, as the people that our children look up to in the world the most, our guidance as parents sets a powerful example for how it is we are to lead. Explain what you are doing to your child and why you are doing it. Help them understand how it is that you approach solving problems and share what they can use from your approach. Reinforce with them that they too can help others learn what they know.

This is of course not an exhaustive list. We will be looking at leadership as a future coffee klatch topic. If you have ideas to add we would love to hear.