Within her method, Maria Montessori conceived a completely new role for the educator. Children learn on their own, using specific materials, the role of the educator being to direct, stimulate and guide the kid’s activity. In the first instance, the children are given a presentation of the materials. Slowly and with precise movements, the educator uses the material according to his purpose, while a group of children or a single child follow him. During the presentation, excessive words and movements are avoided, and actions are segmented so to ensure a better understanding of the concept presented.
The decision to teach a certain lesson often results from careful observation of the children, as well as from the evaluation of their previous work. The help that a Montessori educator gives to the child is always extremely limited - enough to make sure that he has come out of the impasse.
The child is not corrected when he makes a mistake. It is considered that he has not yet mastered the concept enough and the material will be put back on the shelf and repeated on another occasion, after an individual lesson, or after a certain period of time. The Montessori teacher never punishes children, nor does he offer them rewards. It is considered that the only reward a child needs is the one that comes from self-satisfaction, from the fact that he has done a good thing, based on his own strengths.
Dr. Montessori has observed how children thrive when given freedom in an environment suitable for their needs. After a period of intense concentration and work with materials that arouse their interest, children show vitality and self-satisfaction. By focusing on a freely chosen, uninterrupted activity, children reach self-discipline and inner peace. Dr. Montessori called this process "normalization" and is cited as "the most important result of our work." (Maria Montessori, "The Absorbing Mind '1949).