How Montessori Fosters Patience and Sharing in Children

This article is part of a video series with Sharon Rajan, a teacher at Montessori School, Bali. Sharon has over 3o years of experience teaching children 3-6 years in Montessori schools in the US and Canada.

Dr. Linnea: The other thing that comes with this to my mind is patience, that’s another thing that the parents and mothers try to teach their children. And I find Montessori to be especially effective in this because of the materials and because of the way it works, right?

Sharon: Yeah. And even the whole sharing things, we only have one of each piece of material in the classroom, right? So if somebody wants to do something, and somebody else has it out, well, they don’t have a choice, they have to wait, find something else to do, and keep an eye, you can look, you can watch, and you can see, as soon as he puts it away, you can go and get it out, right?

Dr. Linnea: Yeah. How do you do that? Because it’s impossible it’s impossible to do at home.

Sharon: It’s tough. But it’s the boundary, right? It’s the boundary. It’s the same, “Yeah, but right now, somebody else has it.” And sometimes I will say to them, like I will be giving a presentation and somebody will say, “Well, I need you to come and do this with me.” And I say, “Well, would you like me to just leave what I’m doing here?” And they kind of look at me and I say, “Well, I’m actually working with this child here and I’m really, you know, in the middle of something. But it’s not something that I can really leave. So what do you think? How do you think I should handle this?” And they will say to me, “Oh, well, come on when you’re finished.” Or they will say, “Oh, I’ll ask somebody else.” Right? So if I’m not always available, they’ll figure out another way to do it, right? That’s an important piece, right?

Dr. Linnea: And they never just go and grab things?

Sharon: They do. Of course, they do. Of course, it happens. You know, as with time it doesn’t, at the beginning, sure. Or, I mean, I have two that they just constantly…they fight over the door. One of them will come in the door and the other one will run and close the door and then this one’s saying, “But I just came in the door. I wanted to close the door.” And literally, we literally have to go over there and pull them apart. It happens, right? But these are where your grace and courtesy lessons come in where you say, “Okay. Next time he does that, what can you say to him? Let’s practice it. And when she says that to you, what are you going to say?” Or, you know, for example, “If somebody says, ‘Please don’t do that,’ what are you gonna do?” Then they sort of go, “Stop.” It gives them ownership right? It gives this person ownership by saying, “I don’t like it when you do that, please stop doing it.” But it also puts that person in this situation where they…what choice do you have? Because if you continue to do it, you are showing yourself to be what, right? And that’s what they’re starting to realize. They’re starting to look at themselves and go, “Oh, well, I don’t wanna to be that person.” Right? So now the awareness is beginning. And that’s what we’re trying to get to is the awareness.

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Written by Dr. Linnea Passaler

A surgeon and mom of a three, all currently under the age of five, Dr. Linnea is MamaDoctor's founder. She believes healthy virtual spaces where people can share their honest concerns and get help from knowledgeable, trustworthy sources, change lives for the better. She is an advocate for maternal mental health and wellbeing.