The Human Tendencies

When reading about Montessori you will often come across “human tendencies”. Dr Montessori explains The Human Tendencies as behaviours that belong to all human beings; they are inert and man will develop these tendencies to adapt, explore and modify.

In our classrooms we observe the child and it is through this observation that we can understand what the child’s needs are; by understanding the child’s needs we can support The Human Tendencies and therefore help the child to thrive and to reach their full potential as a human being. Dr Montessori identified the following tendencies: movement, curiosity, exploration, orientation, order, gregariousness, independence, communication, self-control, exactness, repetition, perfections, calculation, work, imitation, concentration, abstraction and creative imagination. These are all tendencies that the child is born with and they take place during different stages of development.

Here are some examples of how these tendencies develop and how we support them:

  • Movement allows the child to learn, observe, touch and know what is around him. This movement brings knowledge, and the child has the urge to move to be able to discover. It is important that the child has the freedom to move and is not restricted. In our classroom the child has the freedom to choose their own work. This movement supports the tendency to become independent, to explore and to have a sense of orientation. Montessori did not only refer to independence as a physical tendency but also as a mental one. The child can only express her independence within a group, and this behaviour is connected with gregariousness.
  • When a child is curious they go out of their way to discover more. As the child starts getting older this curiosity grows too, the child is curious about the relationships between things, about the surrounding world and about why changes happen. It is Because of this curiosity that the child becomes motivated to explore in order to satisfy this curiosity; one behaviour leads to another. In our classrooms we support this curiosity by giving the child plenty of opportunities to explore and to grow, we follow the child and therefore take their interest to the next level.

“The child possesses them in potentiality at birth, and makes use of them to build and individual suited to his time”. Mario Montessori- The Human Tendencies and Montessori Education (1956)