We're often asked, how do Montessori students feel a sense of accomplishment, if they're not rewarded with stickers or praise. Which is to say, in Montessori, students initiate activities out of their own volition. They engage with them because they're eager to learn what they're all about. Not because they're instructed to do so. "But, do they feel", it is asked, "a sense of accomplishment, since they're working with the activities, not because they are being evaluated or judged, but because they want to?"
We thought we would take this opportunity to share with you one of the many "sense of accomplishment" smiles we see each day. On this particular afternoon, one of our five-year-old-students decided he wanted to work with the 1000 bead chain. The exercise is very extensive, and requires great patience, concentration and persistence. Here he is, just getting started.
Now, the chain is carefully laid out from one end of the room to the other, with 1000 beads strewn across the floormat. At each 10 and 100, he demarcates the numeral, and his progress, with either a blue tab, indicating the number, or a one-hundred bead grouping. You can see these pictured above.
After a few hours, and a few pauses to catch his breath and get a drink of water, he finished the activity. You can see in his smile and in his body posture, his sense of accomplishment. He's proud of his work, looking over it with meticulous and joyous eyes. He knows he can finish this task. He knows he can work to perfect it. He also increasingly knows, gaining confidence, that he can do just about anything!