"Never do for a Child, what a Child can do for himself." - Rudolf Dreikurs
One thing I really like about the Montessori philosophy is the emphasis on independence. Children are encouraged, from the very first day, to be independent. As much as possible we take the time to teach them how to do things instead of just doing for them. Children are taught self care skills like blowing their noses and fixing their hair. I'm in 3-6yr old classroom where children are still learning these skills. I see these children as very competent little beings and it often takes my by surprise. I think back, not that long ago, to when my own children were this age and I don't remember them being nearly so capable. I'm sure that has more to do with my parenting than their abilities. It's interesting now to watch parents engage with their children before and after school. Parents do so much for their children and I see the child quickly fall back into a passive role when their parents are around. A child who can dress themselves fully for the outdoors will suddenly become helpless when Mom is right there, and Mom will jump right in and dress the child. When parents come into the classroom to observe they are often surprised with how independent their child and the other children are I've heard many parents say, "I wish my child would do this at home as well." It has been interesting to observe this at the Montessori school and has encouraged me to raise my expectations for my own children at home. So far they are living up to them! I also think a lot about how I could encourage independence in children outside of the Montessori environment, and what independence would look like in a slightly older classroom, like my daughter's second grade. I think at all ages children could stand a little more independence in school and at home.