The reason we have rules in the classroom is for the sake of children’s sensitivity to order (since birth), and socialization (around 3 years old). Normally young children crave order, but are unable to create order. This requires the assistance of the adult.
三歲以下(nido)比較屬於獨玩，比較沒有與其他孩子有建設性玩的行為，這時候的秩序，老師是用典範，慢慢引導。老師不會一直只說 “不可以！”，而是每每孩子要犯規了，提供另一個行為方法 （如：孩子要爬到桌子上，老師引導到可以爬地教具上。孩子喜歡倒杯子裡的水，老師讓孩子到水槽或戶外倒水，或者成熟一點的引導到倒東西的教具，滿足傾倒動作練習的需求）。
Under threes tend not to conduct interactive play with other children. The order at this time is gradually established through the teacher acting as a role model. The teacher will not constantly only say “No!”, but offer another behavioral option (ex: If the child is climbing onto the table, the teacher will show the child the climbing equipment. If the child likes to spill water from their drinking cup, the teacher allows the child to play at the sink, or with water outside, or, if the child appears ready, the pouring tray. This will fulfill the child’s need to practice movement.)
約兩歲半到三歲以上進入的教室 (children’s house)，如果不是”體驗式”的課程（如一周只有一天），教室內的材料也是蒙特梭利的，通常老師會在孩子第一次進教室時向孩子解釋教室的運作規則 (孩子開始使用空間時習慣就開始形成了，茹：不尊重材料的習慣）。這樣所有的孩子心有個底，之後工作出現爭奪的問題時也比較有依據。
At about 2.5 or 3 years old the child will enter the classroom called the children’s house. If the class is not merely a ‘taste’, say one day a week, and the materials are intentional as Montessori materials are, usually the teacher will introduce the classroom rules to the children on the first day of school (once children are usually the space habits are established, such as lack of respect for materials). In this way all the children are aware of the classroom rules, and there is more acceptance of it when incidences, such as grabbing, occurs.
Without rules, children are unable to feel safety in their work/play, they are constantly on guard that other children will take it. This results in children who walk around holding tightly to an item but not using it, or simply using it for a short while, often destructively, and immediately abandoning it. The children then lose the opportunity to experience the material on the higher level it was meant for, and fail to gain concentration, or flow. Children can also be unhappy in their interactions. The classroom may look lively, but it’s operating under jungle rules. For the weaker ones, they only get a chance when the teacher notices and imposes justice, otherwise once the teacher’s back is turned they are once more at a disadvantage.
這些規則是蒙特梭利實驗出來的，發現這樣的規則是孩子可以內化，且久而久之（剛開始會反抗的），體會並喜歡的。因為發現這樣才可以共同相處（我畫畫完東西歸位洗乾淨，讓下一個孩子有舒服的空間工作，或許下一個孩子是我！）。教室也是屬於自己負責，真正孩子的空間（sense of ownership)。有這樣的氛圍，也是創造出孩子歸屬感和安心的重要元素。
Maria Montessori developed these rules through experience. She discovered that children are able to internalize these rules and, after a while (in the beginning children may protest), understand and enjoy the rules. They discover that it helps them co-exist (if I clean up and return materials after I use it, the next child will have a comfortable place to work. The next child could be me!) Children also gain a sense of ownership through the responsibility they have of maintaining their classroom. It is in this environment that children feel safe and gain a sense of belonging.
Usually, if the teacher has hopes for higher levels of awareness and conduct from the children, s/he will tell (or show) the child from the onset, that : This is your space, it’s a children’s space (not an adult space), and this is how we use the space… etc.
The freedom in Montessori comes from mutual respect.
Basic Classroom Rules
(not all inclusive)
1. If the material is in use, you can use it when the other child is done with it.
2. We only take materials from shelves, and we return our materials to where they belong. (cycle of activity)
3. We clean up when messes happen.
4. We push in our chairs after leaving our seats.
5. We treat each other with kindness. We help each other.*
The teacher exercises her discretion concerning her understanding of the child’s temperament and developmental level when enforcing these rules.
*On rule 5. , it is important to note that this is not constantly spoken of, like a dictum. Rather, the teacher shows this through her own behavior, she gently (not with fanfare!) encourages it when children spontaneously help each other, and demonstrates through Grace & Courtesy lessons how children can be considerate to each other.