What is Montessori Preschool? Part 13

By Eleanor Zucker

Come Help Celebrate the Christmas Posada at Otoch Paal Saturday, December 19th from 5-8 p.m.
There will be dancing, singing, and regional food for sale.

Please note the school will be closed for the holiday break from December 20-January 6.

Adults in the World of Children— The Montessori Guide


The Montessori guide is the child’s supporter in the most profound sense, by completely respecting the personality and existence of every child. Since Montessori education is based on the child’s internal motivation, the guide’s job is to work by reinforcing this internal motivation in the child’s own process of self-formation. The Montessori guide achieves this through careful observations, to understand what it is each child really needs.

The Montessori guide fervently believes in the individual capability of each child, who wants to do things for himself and acts on his own behalf. The child chooses the activity he wishes to work on and the place where he is going to work. The trained guide, understanding the developmental needs of the child, organizes and maintains the classroom environment with an atmosphere of order, calm, warmth, interest, and happiness.

A Montessori guide never interferes with or unnecessarily corrects a child who is working. After the guide has given the child a presentation of how to use a given learning material, the guide invites the child to use it as demonstrated. If the child shows that she is capable of mastering that learning material, the guide realizes that the material has been demonstrated to the child at the right point in time for that particular child’s developmental process.

If the child appears uncertain about how to work with the material, the child herself shows the guide that the materials was presented to the child too soon. In this case, the guide suggests that the material be put away, to work with again on another day. In this way, the learning process between the child and the guide is a mutual one, with self-correction that does not diminish either one’s work. Working in this way creates a sense of mutual respect between child and teacher, by not faulting the child for not yet being ready to learn something new nor blaming the teacher for the child’s developmental pace.

Stay tuned for the next installment about Montessori Preschool—Personal messages from the Otoch Paal Montessori Guides.

To see a Montessori preschool in operation, come visit Otoch Paal Community Center in Akumal Pueblo.
Otoch Paal welcomes visitors who are interested in seeing how a Montessori center operates. Classes are in session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are asked to come between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

How you can help. As a non-profit community-based learning center, Otoch Paal does not generate sufficient funds to pay for all necessary school improvements. Monetary donations and donations in kind are always welcome. Donations can be made directly at the school. Or more information can be found at: http://montessoriaroundtheworld.org/otoch.html/

Are you associated with a Montessori school that could donate used learning materials for the preschool/kindergarten classroom or support the school in some other way? Contact Graciela Avila, school principal, at: perikavilarivas@hotmail.com

Directions to Otoch Paal:
The school is located near the back of Akumal Pueblo, on the Northern edge of the town. It can be reached by following the Pueblo’s main street (avenida) to the fourth block on the right hand side of the street. After passing the secondary and kindergarten schools (which are on the main street), turn right at the corner where the kindergarten is located and continue to the next corner. Otoch Paal is next to the kindergarten and the entrance is at the far corner, near the town’s edge.




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