Bullying Prevention Program
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Bullying Prevention Program at Arborland Montessori Children’s Academy By A. Foy
One of the main features of a Montessori program is respect for each individual child. Respect for the child is of prime importance in the Montessori classroom. This means the adults in the environment never talk down to the child, or speak in a loud or harsh tone. From day one the child is made to feel safe and secure. Our classrooms are prepared environments where the child may pursue learning activities, make choices and move around to make these learning choices. Very early in the school year, rules of the classroom are taught through our very special Grace and Courtesy lessons. In a Montessori environment, discipline is not forced or enforced by the authority of the teacher. Discipline is fostered through daily lessons that teach respect, acceptance and kind behavior to each other. The children are taught, from a very early age, that they are the future citizens of the world and that they will one day guide and protect their world. Our aim and our hope is to create a calm atmosphere where there is no room for children to be unkind to or bully each other.
While our Montessori environment has an inbuilt program that guards against and discourages any form of bullying behavior, we also instill attributes in the child to prevent this kind of behavior from developing. For example, social skills, emotional intelligence, and confidence are important attributes that we foster and nourish in our children.
Children are also taught to take responsibility and develop a “see something, say something” attitude. They are encouraged to report any sign of bullying to the teacher immediately. To report threatening behavior is not considered telling tales, it is considered being responsible. Older children are given the opportunity to help and be leaders of the class; they help and are protective of the younger children and new comers to the group. The Montessori classroom is very much a close knit society where children are taught and encouraged to watch out for each other. Most important of all, our teachers are very aware and have an understanding of each child through observation and daily record keeping. The merest hint of a bullying situation is taken care of immediately.
If, in spite of all the safe guards against bullying, a situation develops, how do we deal with it? We do not give the child any negative attention. The teacher explains that to hurt another child physically, through unkind words, or by exclusion is not considered cool, and will not be tolerated. Sometimes children act out seeking attention, but they do not want to be considered “uncool”. The children are encouraged to try and work things out under the protective eye of the teacher. The victim is encouraged to tell how a certain action or words were hurtful. The offending child may be isolated from the group to think about his/her action. If the bullying behavior continues, the parents will be informed to seek their assistance. Sometimes some change in the home situation may lead to aggressive behavior in the classroom. We work closely with parents as their cooperation is paramount in assisting the child. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, the child will be given disciplinary action, work in isolation, or forfeit playtime. We work to get the child to take responsibility for his/her actions. Our aim is not to deprive the child but to help him/her. If aggressive behavior is not taken care of at the primary and elementary level it will escalate as the child moves on to Junior High and High School. If the target of the bullying child feels threatened or insecure, we make sure the two are never left alone, until the matter is resolved. It has been our experience that children at this age tend to forget quickly and want to be friends again. We request that parents remember this and work with us. We are all very protective of our own children, and oftentimes parents remember and feel threatened for their child long after the children involved have sorted out their issues and are ready to move on. We want to assure parents that aggressive behavior is never tolerated, and we make sure the children know this too. We are responsible for all our children and we take this task very seriously.