The Role of Guides in Montessori Schools

In a Montessori classroom, teachers play a unique but important role. We refer to our teachers as guides because they do more than just teach. Montessori guides do not stand at the front of the classroom reciting facts to the entire group of students. Instead, they migrate around the classroom, observing and interacting with students individually. Our guides at Silverline Montessori are specially-trained to detect what each child needs in order to reach their full potential.

Creating the Perfect Learning Environment

One of the roles of Montessori guides is to ensure that their classroom is properly organized with specially designed learning materials that are accessible to children at all times.  Montessori materials are interrelated and follow a sequential order.  Guides serve as a link between the environment and their students. Through observing their students, a guide learns which materials a child is ready to be presented so that students are constantly challenged.  A guide also makes sure that the classroom is neat and everything is in order. This sense of order is important because it establishes consistency and independence, as children are able to find learning materials on their own.

Helping Children Discover Their Strengths

Since Montessori guides typically stay with children for multiple years, they are able to form a connection with their students and an understanding of each child’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to create a daily lesson plan for each child. This lesson is brief and given individually or to a small group of children, rather than the class as a whole. Instead of telling a child what to do, the guide shows a child how to use a specific material and what can be done with it. The guide will then step back and let the child take control of their own learning. If a child has a question, the guide asks them how they would solve the problem, allowing the child to develop critical thinking skills and creativity.

Establishing Trust

In order for a child to reach their full potential, they must feel comfortable in their learning environment. This is why Montessori guides aim to establish a trusting environment where children feel free to be themselves. Guides will never criticize a child’s work or scold a child for not doing their work properly. Additionally, guides will not reward a child for good work, as a Montessori education seeks to establish an intrinsic love of learning. Because a child is not being judged, they begin to trust their guide and feel more at ease doing their work.

Serving as a Role Model

Students view their guides as role models and mimic their behavior. Guides practice what they preach by displaying important character traits, such as respect towards others and offering assistance to those who need help. When a guide is helping a younger child, other children observe this and begin to model their behavior after their guide. This encourages them to help other children with their tasks, which strengthens their confidence, as they feel a sense of pride that they have accomplished something meaningful.