Why 'Guide' not 'Teacher'?


Montessori educators use a lot of specific words, that may be unfamiliar to parents. It can seem like you're learning an entirely new dialect when taking a tour of a classroom for the first time! But every special word and term has a purpose. One very specific term that parents and visitors often notice is guide instead of teacher. What does the word guide say about their relationship with a child?

Here's how the American Montessori Society explains it:

"In Montessori education, the role of the instructor is to direct or guide individual children to purposeful activity based upon the instructor’s observation of each child’s readiness."

In other words, the adult in the Montessori classroom doesn't instruct or teach at the front of the classroom like a traditional model, but rather leads or guides a child to the appropriate activities based on each child's individual development. As children get older, the adult increasingly becomes a partner in learning, rather than a source of all knowledge or discipline. In this way, a child is able to develop an intrinsic passion for learning. They follow their own curiosities and preferences, rather than those of a teacher. 

Are there other Montessori terms that you're wondering about? Let us know on Facebook and we'll be sure to follow up! 

Guidepost Montessori is a a global network of schools serving 3,500+ families with early education programs, including Emergency Care for Essential Workers (ECEW) during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking for more free content? Download Guidepost Parent from the App Store for personalized Montessori inspiration and activities.

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