How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (2023)

It’s a common complaint among parents: their children just aren’t responsible enough. They feel like they have to pick up after them constantly, cajole them into doing every little chore and monitor them closely so they don’t get distracted from the tasks they have to do.

It’s a frustrating and difficult situation to be in. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Responsibility Is a Core Life Skill

Parents and teachers don’t often put developing a sense of responsibility in the same category as learning to tie one’s shoelaces or knowing how to add up numbers, but they should. Like those important abilities, responsibility is a core life skill.

How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (1)How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (2)

Responsibility Builds Self-Esteem

When children are able to do things without needing constant reminders, it gives them a sense of their agency and more confidence in their abilities. It makes them feel like they have more control over themselves and their lives.

Seeing that their parents and teachers trust them to make their own decisions or guide their own activities also makes them feel more valued.

Responsible People Work Well with Others

Responsible people are dependable and can be counted on to fulfill commitments. This allows them to be better at making friends, work well within teams and take on leadership roles.

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Responsibility Puts Knowledge into Action

Knowledge and intellectual skills are important, but they’re not always terribly effective unless they’re paired with responsibility.

Knowing how to do math doesn’t automatically translate to good financial management. Knowing good grades are important doesn’t automatically translate to showing up to class on time. It takes responsibility to put that knowledge into action.

Responsible people don’t just know what has to be done – they get it done. This allows them to make the most of the opportunities that come their way and makes them less prone to self-sabotaging their own success.

How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (3)How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (4)

Lessons Learned Too Late

Responsibility comes with a lot of great benefits. But it’s something that many of us acquire too late in life because we’re not expected to be responsible until the stakes are high.

Becoming a young adult means suddenly being burdened with some very serious responsibilities. Almost overnight, you’re expected to live on your own, manage your own finances, budget your time to study independently and attend college lectures or hold down a job. Many of us learn the hard way that we’re just not prepared for it. And if we adapt and learn to be responsible, it’s often only after we’ve seriously overspent and couldn’t pay rent, didn’t study enough and failed a class or two, or missed out on a promotion at work.

Obedience Is Not Responsibility

One of the big reasons children aren’t taught a sense of responsibility for the early age is the obedience trap.

How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (5)How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (6)
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We fall into the obedience trap when we conflate obedience with responsibility. It happens to a lot of parents because our young children being obedient and being responsible often looks the same. In both cases, they’ll tidy their toys, clear their dishes after lunch and put their socks in the laundry hamper instead of leaving them on the floor.

The big difference is the “why” behind those actions. Obedient children will put away their toys because they’ve been told to. But being responsible isn’t about following orders; it’s about seeing what needs to be done and taking the initiative to do it. It’s about knowing that taking a toy out of the cubby means having to put it back after – even if no one’s watching.

Perfection vs. Independence

It’s easy to fall into the obedience trap because obedience gives us something responsibility can’t: perfection.

Parents and teachers often rely on obedience because children can’t be counted on to do things the “right” way. But letting a child do things their way or do it as well as they can, is a great way to encourage them to take charge of their actions and behave responsibly.

And that perfection? It comes with time. Children need the space to learn to do something before they’re expected to do it well – even if it means failing at it a few times.

How We Teach Responsibility

We often treat responsibility like an innate characteristic – some people are just born with it and others aren’t. But that’s not the case. It can be taught. We know it can because we teach it to each and every one of our students.

For parents, teaching responsibility is mainly about getting in the right mindset and seeing your children as capable, giving them age-appropriate chores and leading by example.

For educators, it’s a little different. Here are some of the ways we do it.

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Self-Guided Learning

The rhythm of the traditional school week is determined from above, with very little input from the students. In that kind of environment, schooling is something that happens to the students, not something they participate in.

How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (7)How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (8)

With little opportunity to decide how to use their own time, students miss out on a critical opportunity to develop a sense of independence and the skills of personal responsibility.

As a Montessori program, we approach teaching as a partnership between the students and the teachers. The teachers act as guides who help the students decide which activities they will do and how they will do them (in what order, with what materials, whether alone or with others and so on).

In doing so, we give our students some room to be responsible over their day and allow them to take ownership of their learning.


Some of the big obstacles to responsibility have to do with the environment children are in. It’s hard to be responsible for your own clothes if the laundry hamper is upstairs and out of reach and it’s hard to take the initiative to tidy your toys when they go on a shelf that’s out of reach.

Our classrooms are designed with accessibility in mind. Our learning materials are all at the child’s level, which means that everything is in their reach. And the furniture the children use is all child-sized, which means they can learn to use it without assistance.

Giving our students an environment where they can do everything on their own communicates to them that they are able to take responsibility for their activities, their items, and their tidying.

(Video) Apple Montessori Schools Teacher Assistants

Practical Life Activities

Learning doesn’t always look like learning. For young children, everyday practical activities like pouring water into a cup, slicing fruit, or washing a bowl provide rich opportunities to develop cognitive and motor skills.

When they partake in these activities, our students are also getting into the habit of behaving responsibly. They learn that serving yourself and others, washing up, and helping out isn’t tedious – it can be fun and rewarding.

Multi-Age Cohorts

The traditional classroom is organized according to grades, which roughly correspond to a narrow age group.

Montessori classrooms are organized in cohorts of students with a wider age range. This allows younger students to get help from their older peers instead of always relying on adults while giving older students the opportunity to help and mentor their younger classmates.

That’s where the magic happens. Helping younger children is a big responsibility, and it’s one that our students take on eagerly and with great pride.

How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (9)How Apple Montessori Teaches Elementary Students to Be Responsible | Apple Montessori Schools (10)

We Don’t Pass the Buck on Responsibility

Character development is a buck that often gets passed. One look at a traditional school curriculum is enough to see that they believe it’s only the parents’ responsibility.

We don’t feel that way. We don’t think character is something you acquire in your off-hours.

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Our students spend a big part of their day with us, and if we didn’t help them grow and develop every aspect of themselves, that would be a huge missed opportunity. That’s why we make character education a big part of our curriculum. Teaching responsibility is one of the ways we ensure that our students have the skills and attitude they will need to be happy and successful in all aspects of their lives.


What did Montessori mean with responsibly? ›

Responsible: In Montessori education children take responsibility for their own learning. There is a certain amount of work for them to do. The child knows that this work will help them and that the process of doing it will make them intellectually prepared and will make them feel good about themselves.

What is the role of the student in a Montessori classroom? ›

The students' role at a Montessori school is to play. They can pursue their interests by choosing a subject area and spending as much time as they please doing the activities. Students learn by handling the educational materials and independently discovering new concepts.

What are the main points of Montessori method? ›

The Five Principles
  • Principle 1: Respect for the Child. Respect for the Child is the major principle underlying the entire Montessori method. ...
  • Principle 2: The Absorbent Mind. ...
  • Principle 3: Sensitive Periods. ...
  • Principle 4: The Prepared Environment. ...
  • Principle 5: Auto education.

What is Montessori approach to early childhood education? ›

The Montessori Method encourages self-directed learning that promotes self-confidence, independent thought and action, and critical thinking, while fostering social-emotional and intellectual growth. Education for peace is a foundational component of Montessori education at all levels.

What is the primary responsibility of a Montessori teacher? ›

The Montessori teacher's responsibilities include creating lesson plans and curricula focused on developing social, physical, intellectual, and emotional skills, assessing children's individual needs, and communicating with parents as required.

What is Montessori education in your own words? ›

The Montessori Method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. It's a specific child-centered method of education that involves child-led activities (referred to as “work”), classrooms with children of varying ages and teachers who encourage independence among their pupils.

What are the responsibilities and roles of students in the school? ›

attending classes on time and regularly. being prepared for classes with all necessary supplies. taking good care of school property. completing all homework assignments.

What is the role of the teacher what is the role of the students? ›

Teachers are the ones who motivate the students to do better in every domain and help them achieve life goals. Through their guidance, the students know to differentiate between right and wrong. Teachers are the ultimate role models in a student's life.

What are the roles of the students in the teaching/learning process? ›

The student will take responsibility for what is learned and be accountable for the results of the learning process. The students will aid each other while working to achieve the established learning goals.

What is special about Montessori education? ›

A Montessori education is unique in its profound respect for a child's sincere desire and ability to learn, and in its recognition of his need for independence. A balanced attention to intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development is regarded as fundamental to their progress and enjoyment in learning.

What are the four qualities of Montessori prepared classroom? ›

By keeping the environment child-sized and accessible, the Montessori classroom minimizes the child's need for adult assistance and maximizes the self-regulated activity. True Montessori materials are presented to the child in the Four Avenues of Learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics.

How does the Montessori approach benefit a child? ›

The Montessori Method focuses on creating an enjoyable, 'hands-on' collaborative learning experience where pupils progress at their own speed. It teaches them to start with their own ideas, to build on them through problem solving and physical experimentation.

What are the five principles of a Montessori education? ›

According to Montessori theory, there are five categories of milestones that children experience during these 6 years: order, language, sensory skills, movement, and social skills, respectively.

What are 3 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

Sharing knowledge, giving education, and teaching about life is the primary responsibility of a teacher.

What are the main responsibilities of an early childhood teacher? ›

Duties and Responsibilities

Plans and prepares classroom setting; oversees safety and educational programs; supervises children in the classroom; provides a supportive environment in which children can learn and practice appropriate and acceptable individual and group behaviors.

What are the four responsibilities of the teacher? ›

Duties and Responsibilities of a Teacher
  • To plan and prepare appropriately the assigned courses and lectures.
  • To conduct assigned classes at the scheduled times.
  • To demonstrate competence in classroom instruction.
  • To implement the designated curriculum completely and in due time.

What is the most important skill of teaching? ›

Communication. The ability to effectively communicate is perhaps the most important skill for teachers to possess. Simply understanding the subject material is useless if you can't communicate it in a way that engages students and is easy for them to understand.

What are 3 responsibilities of a student? ›

Rights & duties of school student
  • Meeting Academic Expectations. ...
  • Being Punctual & Respectful. ...
  • Being in the best of behaviors. ...
  • Obey all the teachers. ...
  • Maintain discipline in the class as well as in school. ...
  • Keep the school neat and clean. ...
  • Follow the rules & regulations of the school. ...
  • Do the assigned work on time.
22 Aug 2019

How do you give students responsibility in the classroom? ›

Complete your tasks and classroom work with a positive attitude and a smile. Kids naturally want to help, and seeing you do classwork with a smile will make them want to imitate you, and it will teach them that being responsible and organized is a positive experience.

What are the right and responsibilities of a student? ›

Students have the right to be informed of the content and requirements of their courses and programs. Students are responsible for their own actions whether acting individually or as a group. Students are responsible for their own learning.

What are 5 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

And by the end, you'll be able to enhance the quality of education you deliver to the students.
  • Mentor. During the formative years of students, teachers play the role of a mentor. ...
  • Mediator. ...
  • Resource House. ...
  • Morale Booster and Motivator. ...
  • Demonstrator. ...
  • Continuous Learner. ...
  • A Good Listener. ...
  • Participant.
1 Feb 2022

How do you impact your students lives? ›

Here are some of the best ways to be a positive influence on your students.
  1. Set Standards and Stick to Them. Kids need consistency. ...
  2. Walk the Walk. ...
  3. Be Real but Professional. ...
  4. Speak Positively. ...
  5. Teach and Demonstrate a Growth Mindset. ...
  6. Respect Their Opinions.
17 Jan 2019

What does it mean to be a responsible student? ›

They keep their commitments. Responsible people. honor their commitments—to others and to themselves. They succeed in school by doing their assignments well and on time. They do their share of group projects.

Why should students be responsible for their own learning? ›

Taking responsibility for your own learning makes it easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once these have been identified you can work on a learning plan that focuses on the areas that you need most help with, increasing the speed of your learning, and build the skills you have been trying to perfect.

How do students learn the best? ›

Students learn by connecting new knowledge with knowledge and concepts that they already know, most effectively in active social classrooms where they negotiate understanding through interaction and varied approaches.

How successful are Montessori students? ›

The 70 students who went to the Montessori schools advanced more rapidly on math and literacy tests over the next three years. At the end of kindergarten, when this study ended, the Montessori kids had significantly higher achievement.

What are the 6 main areas of a Montessori classroom? ›

There are six crucial aspects of a classroom that a Montessori teacher must look for and provide.
6 Components of a Montessori Classroom
  • Freedom. ...
  • Structure & Order. ...
  • Community & Social Life. ...
  • Beauty & Atmosphere. ...
  • Reality & Nature. ...
  • Montessori Materials.
26 Oct 2020

What are the six principles of a Montessori activity? ›

Here are the six principles that they go by:
  • Freedom.
  • Structure and Order.
  • Beauty.
  • Social Environment.
  • Intellectual Environment.
  • Nature and Reality.
20 Dec 2021

How do you motivate a child in Montessori school? ›

Developing Respect and Discipline
  1. Be patient with your child. ...
  2. Give them clear expectations, so they can feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve the goal.
  3. Avoid offering external motivations, such as rewards and punishments.
  4. Discuss accomplishments and struggles. ...
  5. Give your child authentic feedback.
21 Feb 2022

What are the 3 stages of learning in Montessori approach? ›

A trademark of Montessori education is the three-period lesson. It is a method all Montessori primary teachers use to introduce new vocabulary and concepts to a child that involves three key steps: naming, recognition, and recall (more on this below).

What was Dr Montessori's view on discipline? ›

Part One of Two— The Theory: What is Discipline and How Do Children Achieve It. “The undisciplined child enters into discipline by working in the company of others; not being told he is naughty … Discipline is, therefore, primarily a learning experience and less a punitive experience if appropriately dealt with.”

What does Montessori say about discipline? ›

The Montessori method tells us that there is a fine line between freedom and discipline. Dr. Maria Montessori herself stated that discipline is less of a fact and more of a way. In other words, discipline is cultivated alongside inner growth and awareness.

What are 3 things that Maria Montessori believed in? ›

Montessori s philosophical and educational school of thought was very different of others in her time. She believed that learning should be accomplished through problem solving, cooperation, and that teachers were to be guides.

What did Maria Montessori's theory focus on? ›

The Maria Montessori Theory is an educational approach that emphasises individualised instruction and self-paced learning. It is based on the belief that children are naturally curious and capable of learning independently.

How does the Montessori model promote respect for the child? ›

Montessori taught us to deeply respect children, not interrupting when they are concentrating, allowing them to discover their own mistakes rather than pointing them out, observing without judgment.

How do Montessori schools handle discipline? ›

Montessori education handles discipline by helping children to consider consequences using clear, precise language to validate a child's emotions and ensure that they are free to make their own choices, as long as they are willing to face the consequences of those choices.

What are the 7 ways to discipline a child? ›

The good news for every parent is it works and here's how you can start putting it into practice:
  • Plan 1-on-1 time. One-on-one time is important for building any good relationship and even more so with your children. ...
  • Praise the positives. ...
  • Set clear expectations. ...
  • Distract creatively. ...
  • Use calm consequences.

What are 4 ways of effective discipline? ›

Tips for Effective Discipline
  • Be realistic and expect a child to act like a child.
  • Choose a few simple, important rules for behaviors; explain them repeatedly to your child.
  • Use a few clear words to explain how you want your child to behave.
  • Show by your example how you control your anger.

What are the benefits of Montessori education? ›

10 Benefits of a Montessori Preschool
  • Focuses on Key Developmental Stages. ...
  • Encourages Cooperative Play. ...
  • Learning Is Child-Centered. ...
  • Children Naturally Learn Self-Discipline. ...
  • Classroom Environment Teaches Order. ...
  • Teachers Facilitate the Learning Experience. ...
  • Learning Method Inspires Creativity.
6 Jun 2013

What are the 5 steps of learning according to Maria Montessori? ›

Each classroom is comprised of the following five areas of learning:
  1. 1) Practical Life. These activities comprise of care of the person, caring for the environment and lessons in grace and courtesy. ...
  2. 2) Sensorial. ...
  3. 3) Language. ...
  4. 4) Mathematics. ...
  5. 5) Cultural.


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