Development of the Will Montessori

The Montessori Method of education is a century-old pedagogical tool developed by Dr. Maria Montessori which revolutionized the world of preschool education for good. 

From a specifically structured Montessori Work Cycle to a meticulously arranged Montessori Prepared environment, the Montessori Method of education takes the needs and requirements of each plane of development into account. 

Each Montessori Material and Activity is designed to develop the qualities of self-reliance, independence, and confidence in children through self-directed play. 

But, with the innate freedom to choose any activity or material their children in a Montessori environment are promoted to develop the requisite qualities of self-discipline, order, and structure. 

Just like the development of any skill or quality, discipline in children in a Montessori Environment is developed naturally. 

The Montessori Environment provides children with the opportunity to make willful decisions from a very young which promotes them to become well-rounded adults. 

While most traditional educational institutions overlook this quality, in a Montessori Prepared Environment, the development of the will in children is vital. 

If you are setting your child on a path to success at higher levels achievements, the development of the will is important. 

To help your child develop the will and self-discipline to become a well-rounded individual, here is how the development of the Will is facilitated in Montessori.

What are Dr. Maria Montessori’s Views on the Development of Will?

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the development of the will is imperative for the child’s holistic development and emotional resilience. 

Will is the capability to control one’s impulses, impose self-regulation, control their mood, make decisions appropriate for the circumstances, and develop inner emotional strength. 

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that each child is born with different inner potentialities enhanced by intrinsic development. 

The Development of the will in a Montessori environment is the foundational stone for the child to lead a journey of becoming a fully functioning adult. 

Persistence and determination over the course of time allow children and in some cases even adults to develop the will and follow the expected rules as well as social norms as adults.

When is the right time to develop the Will in children?

The development of the will in Montessori ideally begins during the lower-elementary or primary stages. 

Children in a Montessori Classroom are promoted to gain full control of their activities and materials in their surrounding environment. 

This new-found autonomy over activities is then turned into an opportunity to learn about discipline, self-reliance, self-care, and independence.

Why is the development of the Will important in Montessori?

The overall freedom the child can gain is developed and built up as the child passes through each plane of development

Each and every aspect of the Montessori Environment including the teachers, social interactions with other pupils, and even Montessori Practical Life activities contribute to the development of will in children. 

Choice in a Montessori environment is more than just curiosity, instead, it is a skill that is mastered over time.

Autodidactic education and Self-directed play are among the cornerstones of Montessori Philosophy. 

The development of the Will is important in an educational environment like the Montessori Method to allow children to make sound decisions, obey instructions, and respect the boundaries of other pupils in the classroom.

By acting upon them the child is able to make independent choices that, in turn, help them comprehend the concept of responsibility.

How is the Will Developed in a Montessori Environment?

Like any other skill in Montessori, the development of the Will in children is a gradual process that slowly builds up as the child progresses to each plane of development. 

Will is the ability to make appropriate decisions based on the circumstances as well as the capability to regulate oneself and one’s emotions. 

In order to develop the Will in your child you will have to provide the child with freedom within limits in their environment. 

Freedom within limits allows the child to make decisions that have natural consequences and reality-based results which allows the child to develop the will. 

While the Montessori Method of education promotes children to become independent entities based on their natural capabilities, it also lays down some limitations to promote the child to develop balance and order and understand the importance of rules.

Freedom in a Montessori Environment allows children to make wilful decisions and contribute to activities on their own terms, while Limits in a Montessori Environment promote safety, prosperous growth, structure, and stability. 

Here are a few examples of how The Montessori Method of education develops the will in children with the help of freedom within limits:

1. Activities and Materials:

Freedom: The child can choose and interact with materials or activities of their choice. 


  • The Lesson is only completed when the child receives a lesson regarding the material or activity from the guide. 
  • The work is readily available on Montessori Shelves
  • Proper instructions and presentations are to be followed when using any Montessori Material.

2. Movement:

Freedom: The child has the freedom to move freely in their surrounding environment.


  • Children are provided with separate Montessori Work stations to help create balance and order.
  • The space of the classroom or home environment is child-friendly and safe
  • Other rooms of the house are also child-safe and babyproofed.
  • Classroom etiquette, grace, courtesy, and other practical skills are taught to the child to help maintain the decorum in the classroom.

3. Interaction:

Freedom: Children have the freedom to interact with their peers and participate in collaborative play or group activities. 


  • The conversions with the peers should not be disruptive
  • Purposeful as well as meaningful interactions or activities are to be promoted

4. No interruptions:

Freedom: Children have the choice to work on activities and materials of their choice without any interruptions. 


  • When partaking in activities it is important to ensure the child is meaningfully engaged. 
  • The end of the school day should be a marker of the activity being completed.

What are the Stages of Obedience in Montessori?

When provided with liberty and freedom within limits the child is able to develop an awareness of their actions and progresses to developing the ability to make wilful decisions as well as deliberate choices. 

Obedience in children develops just like any other quality or skill develops in children. When the child begins to make deliberate decisions that are appropriate to the circumstances, the child develops a conscious will. 

While Will is the ability to make deliberate choices, Obedience is nothing more than just emotional dexterity that provides harmony and balance. 

One can say that obedience is an action or a conscious choice or strength that brings about order, harmony, and structure to one’s life.

Upon rigorous research on the quality of obedience, Dr. Maria Montessori demarcated the three stages of obedience that help individuals harmoniously adapt:

Stage One:

Stage one is where the child is aware of the rules and begins to obey the rules sometimes but not always. 

This stage is evident in children during their early stages of development, where the child is dependent on others to make choices for them as they have not yet developed a conscious will. 

During this stage, the child is not able to follow all the rules unless they are imposed with consistency by taking the needs and requirements of human tendencies and sensitive periods into account.

Stage Two:

Stage two is where the child begins to actively obey the rules as they do not have any development obstacles and have developed a conscious will. 

During the second stage of obedience, the child is able to act upon their own will as well as will directed by circumstances. 

The child is able to lower their impulses and abide by the rules and regulations imposed by others, hence this stage is called the highest level of obedience.

Stage Three:

Stage three of obedience is built upon the foundations laid during the second stage of obedience.

The child during the third stage is able to wilfully and joyfully obey the imposed with complete enthusiasm. 

The child is willing to learn and aspires to gain knowledge from guides. This stage is what Dr. Maria Montessori aspired to provide to all the children.