Montessori pedagogy does not punish errors since errors are the force driving of learning. Interview with Gloria Miravalls.

GLORIA MIRAVALLS, mother of two, educator in Positive Discipline for families, with a Degree in Early Years and Primary Education, Assistant of Montessori of Children Home by AMI (International Association Montessori) and trainer of White Pedagogy.

– What´s your story with Montessori? How did you find out about it?
The first time I came to know about Montessori pedagogy was while studying my degree. In a lesson about pedagogy we watched a video about a class with kids in early years. There was a big noisy class going on, kids playing, chatting, going all over the place, cooking, cleaning, and looking after plants.
I was surprised because that was the first time I saw something like that in an early years class, kids using knives, cooking with real fire. Can you imagine? But the best of all was to see their faces of enjoyment and paying attention. This took me to investigate and that was how I met Maria Montessori, her life, her books, her philosophy, a wonderful woman.

– What are the benefits of applying Montessori to your life?
The benefit is about applying all the knowledge about Montessori with my kids, something which allowed them to be more autonomous, be able to achieve things, to be brave enough not to make mistakes and so learn; to solve conflicts looking for solutions; encourage them to respect themselves and others.
Montessori has also achieved that I go along my kids in their development, feeling calm when there is a situation of angry outburst. Because in order to understand what is going through her/his mind and why she/he is crying, and that her/his behaviour is the symptom of her/his frustration, is the only thing that they need from me to accompany them, to hug them and to guide them calmly.

– In your opinion, what difficulties parents, carers and teacher face that the Montessori pedagogy can help to overcome?
The main difficulties to overcome as parents, teachers and carers are: knowing to respond to our kids demands; understanding of their behaviour (this is not unreasonable but there is some reason behind that leads the kid to wrong doing); knowing this reason help us to act calmly knowing we are getting it right; helping them to grow emotionally and intellectually because you are capable of meeting their necessities. This can only be achieved if the adult is learning to observe; knows in which stage the kid is; what is the absorbing mind; what role is the adult playing in the child´s development; what activity and materials are the most adequate according to their interests and the stage of development in which the kid is. It is important to remember that for all these tips to work out, adults must learn to act calmly in order to help children grow in a peaceful state so that she/he can acquire life skills that best suit them in the future.

– What difficulties kids have that the Montessori pedagogy can help to overcome?
What is special about Montessori is the fact that the activities and the materials can be adapted to the children´s interest and rhythm, something that becomes a challenge for them. It motivates them to act, play, learn avoiding frustration. It manages to strengthen their self-esteem, since they see themselves capable to do things, something which helps them in their self-image. There are no punishments, nor prices; the pedagogy does not punish errors since errors are the force driving their learning.

No matter how do you approach it, this methodology gets the best of each kid, develops slowly but steadily their concentration and capacity to paying attention, together with satisfying their need for learning.

For the full interview in Spanish please go to maternidadycrianzavivencial

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