A collection of useful resources to help Montessori teachers and parents learn more about the Convention ON the Rights of the Child and discuss these specific rights with children, encouraging them to think about what their rights mean to them
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You can find the following range of resources on this page:
Teacher resources
Various online resources to help you learn about and discuss the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Montessori resources & materials examples
Exploring the connection between Montessori education and children's rights. Examples are listed of how Montessori materials relate to certain rights and how children's rights are embedded in the Montessori classroom (downloadable).
Online courses
Interdisciplinary online courses on the specific human rights category: the Rights of the Child.
2. Montessori resources and materials examples
Montessori upholds the four Guiding Principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Article 2
The rights of the child belong to all children.
Article 3
Action taken, concerning children, should be in the best interests of the child.
Article 6
Children have an inherent right to life and to development.
Article 12
Children have the right to express their views and to have their opinions listened to and given due weight.
Montessori is a child-centred and child-led method of education that holistically embeds children's rights.
It is a method that is 'designed to support the child's intellectual, physical, emotional and social development through active exploration, choice and independent learning'.

Children 'are given the freedom to choose what they work on, where they work, with whom they work, and for how long they work on any activity, all within the limits of the class rules. No competition is set up between children, and there is no system of extrinsic rewards or punishments.'

The aim of Montessori education is for the child's optimal development, intellectual, physical, emotional and social, to unfold.
Montessori materials examples
Concrete examples of how the Montessori Method and materials vindicate children's rights, with emphasis on child participation created by Edwina Mulcahy, AMI Primary and Elementary qualified teacher and M.Ed.
3-6 Age group
Practical Life example:
Laying the table
1) Child-size authentic utensils
2) Purposeful social task in the community
3) Task completed independently
4) etc.
Sensorial Materials:
Matching the colour tablets to the environment
1) Environment is set up to enable freedom of movement
2) Material (colour tablet) is designed for the child's hand
3) Mixed age group enables discussion about choices
4) etc.
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Math Materials:
Golden Beads, Bank Game

1) Children can make their own mathematical examples
2) Mixed age group allows for natural dialogue and spontaneous learning
3) Collaborative work
4) etc.
Language Materials:
The Moveable Alphabet

1) Independent choice of work
2) Language exploration from the child's perspective
3) Childs focus of subject matter is the point of reference
4) etc.
Culture Materials:
The Sandpaper Globe

1) Accounts for the natural developmental stage of the child
2) Spontaneous child-friendly dialogue about land and water and the world
3) The child is free to ask open, explorative questions
4) etc.
6-12 Age group
Cosmic Education
Cosmic Education meets the child 'where they are at' through linking with the fundamental needs of the child in this stage of their lives. The child's needs are based around the intellect and society in this developmental phase.
The Human Rights Education Mandate
The Montessori Method for the Elementary age group is constructed around storytelling and project-based learning. These two elements are key to embedding children's rights as they allow for the child's own communication and exploration. It embeds all the rights of communication in its practice. Project-based learning is conducted in the spirit of understanding of peace, tolerance, equality of all sexes and friendships amongst all peoples. The focus is very much on the collaboration of humanity – global citizenship.
Language example
1) Each child is enabled to freely carry out their own research about language
2) Immersion in the value of listening
3) Humanity – global citizenship
4) etc.
"These examples of Montessori in practice demonstrate that children's rights are at the heart of the Montessori Method. Put simply, children's rights are embedded in Montessori.

While the Montessori environment is a model for children's rights, this fact is sadly not as widely recognised as it should be. As Montessori teaching professionals, we should speak to others more often about the rights-based practices in our environments and talk more regularly about the intrinsic value of the work that is being carried out day in, day out. We are educating in a way that is highly respectful of children's rights but that is not enough - we also need to express this in clear language that parents and other stakeholders will understand and respect.

«The evidence shows overwhelmingly that children who learn about and experience their rights are children who demonstrate the fundamentals of good citizenship. They gain knowledge not only of their basic rights but also their corresponding social responsibilities. They develop the attitudes and values that are necessary for the promotion and protection of the rights of others, and they acquire the behavioural skills necessary for effective participation in a democratic society

Most educational environments are challenged to embed rights, often they are approached with tokenism and addressed in the form of add-ons, to paraphrase Todres. Rights are often taught as a separate lesson instead of being integrated throughout the curriculum. In a sense, the Montessori Method with its integrated approach to children's rights, is doing the hard bit. We should now take that next step and include the language of human rights and children's rights in our communications and in the very lexicon of Montessori Education."

Edwina Mulcahy
AMI Primary 3-6 Years (London), AMI Elementary 6-12 Years (Dublin) Benincasa Special Needs Diploma, Dublin Master's Degree in Education, and PhD Candidate, University College Dublin April 2020

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