Montessori educators use a lot of specific language. 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. In fact, we wrote an entire article about why ‘child’ is used instead of kiddo or little.
One other very specific term that parents and visitors often notice is the use of the word guide instead of teacher. What does the word guide say about a teacher’s 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!
Recommended for you: