Society’s view of children is the idea of them being helpless and to give respect to all adults because they are told to. Respect is important in the world we live in, but if a child is not taught the reasoning of why we respect others then we are not doing our jobs as guides. Giving a child the level of respect that we give to other adults is the way of teaching a child how to give that same respect back to others. When a child has learned the understanding of respecting others they will be able to function better in their environment and to respect themselves most importantly. Giving a child individual respect allows the child to feel understood and seen by you, the adult.
The Montessori classroom is based on respect. Respect of the works, respect of the friends in our classroom, and respect of the child’s own body. As a teacher, I give each child the same amount of high respect as if they were older adults themselves. While the children are working, I treat their concentration as if a colleague were working and asking to not be interrupted. Respecting the works a child chooses is also another important part of the Montessori classroom. As long as the child is respecting the work, the respect of letting a child do a work over and over is always there.
To ask a child to respect other’s bodies and their own, I must first give respect to the child’s body. Adult’s in our society pick up children and treat their body disrespectfully, because they feel the child enjoys it or simply does not care. Imagine being their size and a large monster coming up behind you and not being able to see what is going on. When we pick up a child without letting them first know what we are going to do then we are disrespecting them. Also facing a child and letting them see that you are touching their body after giving them the respect of telling them is giving them the respect they deserve.
Teaching a child to respect their classmates, teachers, and other adult’s will give them the base of knowledge that we respect everyone in our world. A child who sees that an adult respect’s everyone they meet will grow up to become that same adult with a peaceful understanding of others. Respect of other’s will lead to the accepting of people who may have ideas that are different from their own. A world full of children who have been taught and grown with respecting everyone will allow a better system for communication and living together in our society. Maria Montessori felt that knowledge is peace and knowledge of respecting other’s, especially children, is what will lead to people living together in harmony.