Montessori Myths and the Importance of “Real” Montessori

We are accustomed to hearing folks discuss a variety of Montessori myths, and it’s most often that these misunderstandings come from people who haven’t spent time in a high-fidelity Montessori environment that applies the methods as they were originally intended. The truth is, anyone can call themselves “Montessori”. There’s no trademark on the name, and so it can be pretty misleading to people who are trying to discern what is real Montessori and what isn’t.

You can imagine our surprise, however, when we came across this article [Being a Montessori Teacher Made Me Decide Not to Raise My Kid That Way] written a number of years ago in which the author professes to be a Montessori teacher who chose not to raise her own child that way because of its supposed abundance of downfalls.

Wait, what?

We were so confused. That is, until we read our way through the article and things became a little more clear. We’d like to address some of the main points and criticisms in the article, because we feel these are some of the more common misconceptions.

What first struck us in the second paragraph was this statement: “They (the children) aren’t beholden to any sort of classroom structure”. This is simply false. Montessori classrooms thrive on structure, and we know that children need it to succeed. One of our most repeated mottos is “freedom within limits” and we believe the limits are just as important as the freedom. Children do need choice and we do advocate for building independence, but in our environments they are required to do so within the carefully constructed boundaries created by adults.