Positive Communication - Montessori Classroom Essentials Workshop


A workshop attendee shares notes and takeaways from last month's Portland workshop - "Positive Communication."  Join us for the next two installments in this workshop series  ‘Montessori Classroom Essentials’ series on Thursday evenings - 'Facilitating Gracious Transitions' on 10/19 and 'Supporting Independence' on 11/9.  

Many thanks to Happy Valley Montessori School for sharing the following! -


Michelle Becka’s ‘Positive Communication’ workshop was a delightful and refreshing way to start out the new school year.  With her pleasant demeanor and witty charm, Michelle made the time fly by while sharing her wisdom.  I was happily reminded of the art of mindful observing, listening, and responding when in the presence of children (and adults!).

Some highlights for me from the evening:  

  • Maintaining “high warmth/kindness” while being “high in control” is the key. You are authoritative with as few words as possible, while avoiding being the Authoritarian. Hold firm the limits while being loving and kind.

  • Stop asking, “Why did you do…?”  They have no idea why they did it!

  • Do your best to offer a choice (A or B, red or blue, rug or a table). Either one is acceptable. Everyone loves to have a choice!

  • Treat the words, “NO” and “STOP” like a rare precious gem. Those words are needed only when there is imminent danger, and become ineffective if overused.  We do, of course, need them for safety in our environments.

Dr. Maria Montessori and son Mario visiting a Children's House.

Dr. Maria Montessori and son Mario visiting a Children's House.

  • Helpful words/phrases to use:


May ...

Let’s ...

It is time to...

I see that...**


**The one that will buy YOU more time to decide what to do in a particular situation is ‘I see that..’  An example would be when a child is taking materials she has not had a lesson on:  ‘I see that your hands need to do something.’  PAUSE. THINK. ‘Let’s put this back and go find something you can do with your hands.’

A pertinent piece of information came out of our small group discussions (which, by the way, were fantastic!) -  What do you do when you have used every form of positive communication you can imagine?  ‘You can walk. Let’s walk. Show me how we walk in the class. Let’s walk around this rug. Let’s walk with this tray. You can walk with this cup of water on the ellipse. Let’s walk by this shelf and gently touch it as we walk by..’   There are more ways than you can imagine, but what if it is still not working?  As Michelle said, “It can be quite challenging once we have tried all of these techniques, but the child continues to routinely not follow the rules and guidelines of the Casa. We could have a whole class on what to do next! Would you want a class about this?”  Yes, please!  We made a request for a future workshop on Positive Discipline. ☺

I am looking forward to the other workshops in this mini series, ‘Facilitating Gracious Transitions’ and ‘Supporting Independence’ with Michelle.  What a great way to freshen up your skills as a seasoned guide, meet professional hours, and mingle with fellow Montessorians in a beautiful training center. “

Posted on October 12, 2017 and filed under Assistants to Infancy, Elementary, Primary, Resources, Workshops.