The concept of freedom according to Dr. Montessori is a freedom within limits. Child is allowed to do things so long as he is respectful of other people and the materials around in the house.
During the period between conception and four years the child develops 50 to 60% of his intelligence and another 30% between ages 4to8years. Very little develops after that. He has to discover his own personal powers for which, he needs freedom. Do we give that freedom?
Freedom is giving you the power to make your own choices and discipline is making the correct choice, while respecting everyone’s rights. Learning to wait in line, to get one’s turn at the slide in the play area is an example.
Children love order and routine and as parents we have the responsibility to set out very clear guidelines and expectations within which the child enjoys full freedom. As we all know children are also good at taking advantage of a situation. So they will try to see how far they can push and change the rules, to have it changed the way they want. If we are consistent about the freedom within limits, the child will get to know about limitations too.
That is why the rules and guidelines have to be made clear from the beginning and consistently followed. The child’s freedom is based on respect for everyone and everything around him.
Children will be happy and busy working, whenever they are given this kind of freedom.
At home he can play with water, but has to clean up if he spills; he can play with any toys, but he has to put them back in their places.
The child should be given plenty of opportunity to make choices to enable growth. To make correct choices he needs to practice. So he should be encouraged to make choices. This also allows the child to show his own interest and attitude. It is best to give him limited choices in the beginning, like asking them, “Would you like to eat banana or an apple?” instead of, “would you like to eat a banana, or an apple or a litchi, or an orange?”
Children will be happy and busy, working whenever they are given this kind of freedom. By work, we mean focusing on any constructive activity.
At home they can play with water and also have to clean up the spill, can play with any toy but have to put them back. Creativity of the child is born of freedom but discipline comes of setting the limits. Freedom is also very important when the child begins to explore. He needs the freedom to move around.