How discussion helps moral development in children.
A lot of time is spent in discussion in the Montessori classroom. From difficult topics to casual topics, the Montessori classroom is a place where we can discuss a wide variety of topics, and one of these topics is morality which can be harder for the child and the adult (teacher/parent).
What is morality?
Morality is often confused with manners. It's not morality to leave the door open for someone else, it is polite. Instead, morality challenges us to examine much difficult issues and decide what is right and what is wrong.
Moral issues are not what we can say we have achieved rather it is something that we aspire. As teacher/adult and as a model for the children, we must able first to understand that life can change suddenly and change our perspectives and attitudes on what is moral and what is not and accept that's okay.
What are morals for children?
In early years, young children are testing the world to see what is acceptable. What kind of behavior is acceptable in my family? How will my behavior be perceived? Why I am being reprimanded for hitting my brother?
But, when you get a little older, moral development really starts to show up. According to Maria Montessori, "At the age of six the orientation begins to moral questions for judging behavior."
How to Teach Morality?
Children of this age are already beginning to present moral questions and judgements, so this is a good time to ensure that our curriculum and our guidance provides an opportunity for exploration of these ideas. These presentations provide 2 wonderful learning opportunities. The first, we can hear and interact with the stories and the arguments the child makes. The child may create a whole scenario and start to judge what is wrong and what is right, so discussion and interactions with this is key. The second, it is a great window to introduce them to different cultures and different moral perspectives. It is important to note that according to the Montessori way lectures are unlikely to elicit a positive response, arguments and discussion yield a more holistic and effective learning and development experience. That cannot apply more to any topic that moral. According to Mariah Montessori.