The Montessori Triangle

Within Montessori education, there are three important roles: the child, the parent, and the teacher.  Each role is unique and essential. Like the sides of an equilateral triangle, each role is distinct and separate, yet all three are needed.  These roles are described more fully in the document below. 


The Child is responsible for:

                His /her own Environment

  • Returns materials to the shelf in perfect order
  • Cleans up one’s own messes
  • Uses materials for what they are designed to teach

Him/her Self

  •  Walks when inside or on walkways outdoors
  • Chooses challenging work and practices with it
  • Uses one’s body in appropriate ways
  • Works toward developing the self-confidence and procedures needed to dress self and be independent

His/her Community

  • Talks in a moderate tone when inside
  • Respects other people’s work space
  • Talks in a polite manner to other people
  • Observes others in their work process without disturbing their focus
  • Uses one’s body in appropriate ways toward others 

The Teacher is responsible for:

His/her Implementation of the Montessori Educational Philosophy

  • Applies all facets of one’s training (philosophy, curriculum, material making, classroom management, observation strategies, etc.)
  • Models the behavior one seeks the children to follow
  • Designs the classroom to support the needs of each child
  • Practices and refines Montessori lessons
  • Demonstrates a sincere respect for the child
  • Speaks positively to and about each child, visualizing and holding in mind that the child is perfect and complete and still in creation

Supporting the Needs of the Whole Child

  • Records observations of the whole child (social, emotional, mental and physical development)
  • Communicates with parents about any needs of the child that need to be fulfilled within the home environment (sleep, social nurturing, physical health, nutrition, etc.)
  • Remains accessible to parents to support their observations of the needs of their child

Supporting the School Community

  • Attends all staff meetings, special events, in-service workdays, etc.
  • Attends fundraising functions
  • Helps with the process of teambuilding efforts
  • Attends board meetings when time permits
  • Observes in other classrooms at school
  • Supports other staff members with problem solving
  • Helps evaluate and refine procedures

 The Parent is responsible for:

                Supporting the Whole Child

  • Is attentive to refining the home environment to foster independence of the child (e.g., low hooks so child can takeoff/put away own clothes)
  • Sets limits and adheres to those limits
  • Praises the process, not the product
  • Helps child to identify and accept his/her feelings
  • Helps child to accept his/her imperfection
  • Lets the child work out his/her imperfection
  • Lets the child work out his/her own minor struggles at school; remains available as a sounding board, but guides the child into making his/her own decisions
  • Is an active listener
  • Is a conservative consumer (simplifies rather than clutters the child’s material environment)
  • Helps child differentiate between fantasy and reality
  • Limits the amount of the very young (birth – age 6) child’s exposure to fantasy
  • Limits the amount of child’s exposure to violent television programs
  • Models a love and joy for reading
  • Shares spiritual convictions or tendencies
  • Helps child learn to delay gratification (process is as important as product)
  • Secures a daily routine in the child’s life
  • Makes sure child gets ample amount of sleep
  • Spends time with child
  • Helps child develop the self-confidence and procedures needed to dress self and be independent

Supporting the Montessori Educational Philosophy

  • Focuses on the process of a child’s work, not the finished product
  • Fosters quiet time daily within the home environment; fosters quiet observation of nature
  • Does not nit-pick child over minute details
  • Enriches child’s life with global awareness through sharing diversity in art, music, customs, religions, history, etc.

Supporting the School Community

  • Gets child to school on time
  • Signs child in and out of school
  • Gets child to school with proper attire for the weather
  • Gives child a balanced breakfast before school
  • Supports the school’s ground rules; reviews rules periodically with child
  • Informs school when child has any changes regarding who is picking up the child after school


Maria CostadiniComment