How to Motivate Your Child the Montessori Way

The Montessori method is all about intrinsic motivation, or the desire to engage in behavior that arises from within the child himself, as it is naturally satisfying to him. All children have this intrinsic motivation to learn and to explore. When it comes to motivating your child to cooperate with you, it’s important to tap into this intrinsic motivation, rather than resorting to punishments or external rewards.

By tapping into this intrinsic motivation, we are able to develop the child’s will and independence. On the other hand, if we oppose their free will, it can lead to more disobedience. One way to develop the child’s free will is to give them our respect. By showing our children respect, we can earn theirs, and by extension their cooperation.

How to earn your child’s respect

Be patient

One way to earn your child’s respect is to be patient with them. Sometimes if a child refuses to do something, we may get frustrated and lash out. This is not the ideal reaction because it will lose our child’s respect. It’s important for us to not rush our children or force them into doing the thing that we asked as this may clash with their free will or they may not be developmentally ready to take that task on their own.

Offer help and encouragement

When a child is unable to do something right away, it’s important for us to recognize this and offer them help and encouragement. For instance, if you are in a rush and tell your child to put on their jacket so you can leave, your child may refuse and say no.

To motivate your child in this situation, you can simply say “You’re saying no to putting on your jacket. We need to go to the grocery store now. Would you like me to help you put on your jacket or would you like to put it on by yourself?”

By offering her choices, you are showing your child that you respect her free will. Offering your help also shows your child that you are willing to work on things together and that will make them feel like it’s a team effort, rather than making them feel like they have to do everything by themselves.

Recognize that this is part of their development

One day your child may do the task you ask her to do with no problem, and the next day she may say no. Disobedience or refusing to cooperate is going to happen because it is a natural part of the child’s development. That’s why it’s so important for us to work with the child to develop her will during these formative years instead of trying to break it. After all, we want our children to be independent individuals who choose to behave well on their own accord.

Motivating students at Silverline

Our faculty at Silverline Montessori School has crafted a learning environment that taps into the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn. Our classrooms are designed to encourage independence, good behavior, concentration and coordination. As a result, our students begin to build character and confidence and improve their focus and attention.

How Montessori Preschools Build Your Child’s Self-Sufficiency and Independence

Dr. Maria Montessori often taught those around her to teach by this principle, “Help me to do it myself”. This can be achieved through the prepared environment where space is given to be independent and self-sufficient. During a time when kids have become even more reliant on their parents to do things for them (which sometimes even carries on into young adulthood), it becomes increasingly important that we teach our children self-sufficiency skills. One of the main goals of Montessori preschools is to raise a generation of independent and self-sufficient individuals.

This is important because success in life is almost always correlated to the degree in which people perceive themselves as independent. The way we achieve this independence and subsequent success is by starting at an early age. We prepare the environment to foster their best development. Then we observe and watch the child strive to be independent, grow, and learn. Hence, early childhood is the perfect time to start learning the skills that are necessary to be self-reliant and begin practicing them until the children can act on their own without help.

Care of Self

Learning how to take care of oneself is one of the biggest achievements that a child makes in the Montessori journey of becoming self-sufficient. In Montessori preschools, care of self is taught through practical life activities. Practical life exercises include learning basic skills needed on a daily basis. They are everyday life activities that a child learns to do in a purposeful way. The child learns about their own movements and learns how to refine their coordination. Some of these activities include dressing and undressing, which involves actions that sharpen fine motor skills, such as buttoning shirts and putting on shoes. Brushing teeth, combing hair, using the restroom, and preparing food are other practical life activities that a child may learn in a Montessori classroom.

Freedom of Choice

“Freedom of choice” comes from a well-prepared environment. This prepared environment is the key! The Montessori method has its roots in belief that each child is an individual that deserves to be respected. This is why children have freedom of choice in the classroom. In Montessori preschools, children are allowed to make their own decisions on what they work on. They are given the autonomy to choose to work on the lessons that interest them the most.


It is through independence that the birth of self-esteem begins. All opportunities around the children helps them build a better self-image leading to higher self-esteem. Unfortunately, children who become dependent on their parents or caregivers for everything, will eventually have lower self-esteem. On the bright side, however, one of the benefits of guiding children to become independent is that it raises their self-esteem.

Gaining a sense of self-reliance and independence also helps to develop a healthy self-image. When a child is shown how to do something, and then they are allowed to do it on their own, it boosts their self-esteem more than any amount of verbal praise ever will. The activities that the children complete teach them not only pride and a positive self-image but also perseverance.

Dr. Montessori on Self-Sufficiency and Independence:

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that every child was born with the natural capability of being an independent individual.

“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” -Maria Montessori

Practical Life Activities

A Montessori education differs from a traditional daycare in many ways. One of the most important elements of a Montessori curriculum is the use of practical life activities. These activities are things that we do in our daily lives, such as cleaning, sewing, and gardening. Practical life activities serve many different purposes in a Montessori preschool and you typically won’t find these in your average daycare.

Improving Developmental Skills

Practical life activities help children develop concentration skills, as well as control and coordination of movement. Tasks as simple as serving a drink to someone enhance multiple skills. When a child pours water from a pitcher into a glass, several things are occurring. First, the child is developing fine motor skills in the hands, fingers and wrist from the pouring motion that is happening. Hand-eye coordination is also used as the child guides the pitcher towards the empty glass. Finally, the child is using concentration skills to make sure that the water is not spilling or overflowing out of the glass.

Positive Self-Esteem

Children see adults as role models and imitate adult behavior. When a child has the opportunity to complete “an adult task,” they feel important and gain a sense of pride. They develop confidence in their abilities and a sense of independence. Being able to meaningfully contribute to the home by sweeping kitchen floors or sewing a button back onto a shirt helps a child feel more positive about himself, self-sufficient – fulfilling their drive toward functional independence.  This sense of purpose and improved self-esteem only increases as a child learns to master more challenging tasks.

As adults, we look at daily activities such as washing dishes and folding clothing as boring chores that are necessary in order to keep a clean home. For children, however, these chores are interesting activities that adults do every day. When you take the time to teach your child how to do these simple activities, you are showing them that you trust them and see them as a contributing member of the family.

Preparing Children for Reality

Practical life activities prepare children for the real world by teaching and refining individual skills to be carried out in purposeful activities becoming productive members in society. While traditional schools and education tend to focus solely on developing reading and mathematical skills, Montessori schools believe that reality-based skills set the foundation for academic skills, and should be taught as well. A good Montessori school will use authentic materials in the learning environment. For example, shoes should be cleaned with real polish, and water should be poured into a real glass.

While materials should be real, it is best to use materials that are proportionate to the child. If a child is watering a plant, the handle must fit her hand and she must be able to easily carry the watering can. A child would not be able to lift a regular-sized watering can, so we use a smaller-sized can. The can is the same color, shape, and texture as the regular-sized one, but in a version that is the right size for a child.

Practical Life at Silverline Montessori

At Silverline Montessori School, practical life activities are an important part of our curriculum. As an Associate Member School of the American Montessori Society, we provide a high-quality and authentic Montessori education to our students. Our locations in Pearland and Towne Lake Cypress are dedicated to preparing children for future success in both education and life. We strive to be a top tier Montessori preschool, exceeding the expectations that parents may have when seeking a preschool or daycare for their child.


Four Planes of Development in a Montessori School

When you walk into a Montessori school for the first time, one of the first things that you may notice is the classroom structure. Unlike a traditional school where the students are grouped together by birth year, where typically whole group learning is based on chronological age, a Montessori environment uses 3-year, mixed-age grouping, where instruction is personalized to meet individual and small group needs.  This multi-age classroom structure is based on Dr. Montessori’s observations and work that revealed there are four different stages of development from birth to early adulthood.  She referred to these as planes of development.  Others in Psychology and Education may use the terms ‘stages’ or ‘phases’.

According to Dr. Montessori, each plane of development is characterized by distinct sensitive periods for learning – where children exhibit certain needs, attributes and characteristics at each plane of development. During these sensitive periods, a child undergoes a period of intense developmental change followed by a period of assimilation, marked by a student showing confidence in his newly acquired abilities. Using this model offers a holistic framework where learning and classroom structure is based on stages aligned with developmental psychology.

The Four Planes of Development are as follows:

The First Plane: Birth to Age 6 (Early Childhood)

During the first plane of development, children are soaking up the world. Dr. Montessori calls this the “absorbent mind,” meaning that the child’s brain has a sponge-like capacity to absorb from the environment all that is necessary to develop an individual from her specific culture.

At this age, children are focusing on the self and have a strong desire for physical independence. You will notice an “I can do it myself!” mentality. The foundation for a child’s personality is also laid during this time.

This plane is characterized by sensitive periods that include movement, language, toileting, order, grace and courtesy, music, reading, writing, social relationships, and mathematics.

The Second Plane: Ages 6–12 (Childhood)

The second plane of development is characterized by a thirst for knowledge and a strong desire for intellectual independence. You will notice an “I can think it myself!” mentality.

At this age, children begin searching for moral order and develop their conscience, or sense of right and wrong. This is a good time to teach your child fairness, and show him how he can help others.

During this stage, children learn from a “cosmic education” in a Montessori school, which encourages them to explore their place within the world, as well as appreciate the interconnectedness of all things.

The Third Plane: Ages 12–18 (Adolescence)

Marked by feelings of self-concern and self-assessment, the third plane of development is a sensitive period for critical thinking and exploring deeper moral and social values.

At this age, adolescents have a deep desire for emotional independence. You will notice an “I can stand on my own” mentality.

During this stage, the adolescent works on constructing his social self and feels the need to participate and have more control over his life.

The Fourth Plane: Ages 18–24 (Maturity)

The fourth plane of development is characterized by the young adult working on their spiritual self or constructing a higher-level of self-understanding.

This stage is marked by a strong desire for financial independence. You will notice an “I can get it myself” mentality.

During this time, the young adult discovers their place within the world and asks herself “What do I have to give to the world?”

The Planes of Development at Silverline Montessori School

At Silverline Montessori School, our education programs are designed to meet the needs of children in the first and second planes of development. Our focus is on developing the child’s potential during these distinct “windows of time” or sensitive periods. We keep our classroom sizes small to create an emotionally nurturing environment that is at the same time cognitively challenging. Our goal is to foster self-directed learners that become confident in their abilities by the end of each plane of development.

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” – Dr. Maria Montessori



Developing the Whole Child

One emphasis in Montessori education is on the development of the whole child. While traditional schools tend to focus on developing a child’s cognitive abilities, the Montessori method aims to develop every aspect of a child. There are four main elements that make up what Montessori refers to as the whole child: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive.


As children grow and mature, their bodies go through many changes. Staying physically active benefits children at every stage of development. In a Montessori classroom, there is a great deal of movement offered through a variety of activities.  Children who are physically active throughout their day develop stronger muscles and bones and tend to have an easier time falling asleep at night. When a child plays outside, they are exposed to all of the beautiful things nature has to offer. Since young children learn using their senses, an outdoor environment filled with plants, animals, and objects can serve as a classroom as well. At Silverline Montessori, all of our students participate in weekly physical education classes and have the option of taking yoga classes as well.


Learning how to recognize and manage emotions is a very important life skill. Many conflicts in life are a direct result of a person feeling hurt by another’s actions. Children can learn from an early age that their actions can affect other people. Respect for others is strongly emphasized in every Montessori classroom. When students get into a disagreement, they learn how to talk about their feelings in order to resolve the issue peacefully. Children also learn how to recognize what emotions others are feeling. They are taught to look at body language and facial expressions in order to determine how someone else is feeling. Developing this emotional intelligence helps children form stronger bonds with others.


The Montessori method recognizes the importance of social interactions in developing the whole child. Multi-age classrooms are one of the main features of a Montessori education. In these classrooms, children are grouped based on the plane of development that they are in, rather than their exact age group. This allows children to interact with students of different ages, helping young children feel more comfortable with older children. Older children strengthen their leadership skills by serving as mentors to younger students and assisting them with their work. Students learn important social skills such as communication, collaboration, and kindness towards others.


To a Montessori student, the world is their classroom. The Montessori method aims to develop creative thinkers, able to solve problems and constantly learn and challenge themselves. Montessori students learn to view themselves as global citizens and recognize the beauty of different cultures and traditions. They understand that they are part of a greater universe and that they have a moral responsibility to protect our planet in the future. They have a profound respect for the natural environment and understand the importance of practicing good virtues. Art and music classes give students an outlet to express themselves, and computer classes help prepare them for our technologically advanced society. Through a combination of all of these subjects, Montessori students develop cognitive skills in several different areas.

The Importance of Global Citizenship

As a Montessori parent, you recognize how important it is for your child to become part of the emerging world community, and you want your child to help build that community in the future. Here at Silverline Montessori, we understand the importance of global citizenship and how it is constantly developing, from birth to adulthood. That’s why we make sure that global citizenship is a key focus in our classrooms.

Building a Vision                                                                                        

Starting at an early age, every child should begin to understand that they are a unique individual who is a part of the human species, a member of society, and a citizen of the world. When a parent nurtures this awareness of the world, a child will begin to develop an understanding of the universe and an appreciation for all life on earth.

As Dr. Maria Montessori wrote in her book, To Educate the Human Potential, “Since it has been seen to be necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe.  The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions.” This visionary idea was based on her observations of how eager children are to understand themselves, the world, and the role they play within it.

Age-Appropriate Development

Dr. Montessori believed that the proper time a child should be exposed to culture is around six years old. This is the optimal age because this is typically when a child becomes interested and even enthusiastic about different cultures. This process, she believed, is similar to the germination of a seed; it will grow and expand if the idea of culture is introduced at the right time and in the correct way. “A need arises for a special method, whereby all factors of culture may be introduced to the six-year-old; not in a syllabus to be imposed on him, or with exactitude of detail, but in the broadcasting of the maximum number of seeds of interest,” Montessori wrote.

Our Cosmic Task

One important element of a Montessori education is the belief that we have a cosmic task, or a moral responsibility, to protect humankind from the threat of self-annihilation caused by our species’ destructive actions. If we, as Montessori parents, nurture the values of global citizenship in our children, we can help prepare them to successfully handle issues that modern society faces in a peaceful manner.

At Silverline Montessori, we encourage all of our students to use their imaginations to explore cultural diversity and understand how communities around the world work and live differently. Our students learn to develop a profound respect for all cultures and the world as a whole. One of our main goals is to develop a generation of future leaders who value global connectedness and are able to collaborate with people from different cultures and nations easily.

The Benefits of Multi-Age Classrooms

One of the main features of the Montessori method is multi-age classrooms. Montessori specialists place a child in a classroom based on their individual level of development, instead of placing them by their exact age. Typically, Montessori children are grouped according to the plane of development that they fall into. The planes of development include the following age groups: 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15, and 15-18 years old. Dr. Maria Montessori developed these three-year cycles based on her extensive psychological studies and scientific observations of children.

Why this Matters

While children in a traditional school system have a different teacher every year, multi-age classrooms allow children to remain with the same teacher for several years. This ensures that the teacher will develop a deep bond with each student, as well as a deeper understanding of every child’s unique needs. This results in a more effective teaching method that truly works for each student. Children also feel more relaxed around their teacher and their classmates because they have known them for multiple years. When a child becomes comfortable with their surroundings, the child is able to better focus on their education, as they do not have the added worry or stress of having to get to know a new teacher and make friends with a new group of classmates each year.

A Montessori classroom helps to develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime. In a mixed-age classroom, older students have the opportunity to become mentors to younger students. These mentors help to teach their younger mentees ideas and concepts that are slightly more advanced, and are able to answer any questions that their mentees may have. Mentorship learning is beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee, as both parties involved gain valuable skills by collaborating with one another. Older students are able to reinforce their own knowledge base by teaching the younger students, and the younger students benefit from having a mentor who is always available to help them.

Effects on Development

As children pass through the planes of development, they begin to develop certain attributes and needs according to their age group. Since children are grouped in classrooms based on their plane of development in order to maximize each child’s learning, each period of transformation is taken into consideration in the Montessori method. Since children stay with the same teacher throughout their three-year cycle, they gain more understanding and the teacher is able to tailor their education method based on each child’s individual needs.

Being able to interact with other children, either younger or older, helps a child to develop the social skills necessary for future successes. Many times, younger children are intimidated by older children, simply because they have never interacted with them before. In Montessori classrooms, students of different ages interact with each other on a daily basis, so younger children become more comfortable playing and learning with older children. Additionally, by being around children of different ages, a child is exposed to many different levels of all subjects at all times. This creates a constant cognitive stimulation that sparks a great and more organic interest in learning.

Our Mission                                                                                        

At Silverline Montessori, we designed our multi-age classrooms to help all of our students develop confidence in their abilities, leadership skills, and a deep love of learning. Children learn how to get along with others and resolve conflicts peacefully in our classrooms. They also learn the importance of kindness towards others, sharing learning materials, and providing assistance when another student needs help. All of these are valuable skills that will last your child a lifetime.