Educating twins while respecting their autonomy


For this post, I will deviate a little from Montessori pedagogy as such, but still in the field of education. With a subject that is dear to me, that of twins and their autonomy, since I myself have a twin sister.

True or false twins, what’s the difference?

Identical (monozygotic) twins are from the same egg and have grown together in utero, inside the same nest. They are therefore genetically identical. The fetuses of identical twins develop within the same placenta and are of the same sex. 

They look the same as two drops of water but do not have the same measurements: one of them is often bigger than the other. 

The fraternal twins (dizygotes) come from two different eggs.

They are genetically different because they are the result of two different fertilizations. They are not necessarily of the same sex and may not look alike.

The complicity of the twins

Twin fetuses have always shared everything, the nest and all the vibrations that come to them from the outside. They also hear the beating of their mutual hearts.

For them, life has always been double and during early and early childhood, many twins are surprised not to be the “normality”, because for them all children are raised in pairs. 

Why are their ties so strong?

Mothers of two twins cannot fulfill their two children at the same time. The gaps they create when they are not there or when they are busy with another child, the twins fill them mutually.

They are a presence, “the double” protector. As twins we never really feel alone, at least during early childhood… And the habit is quickly taken of systematically counting towards each other.

Are they “identical”?

Twins may look the same physically, but they have two distinct personalities that should normally assert themselves over the years. 

A pair of twins is a true duo in which each is complementary to the other. It is therefore not uncommon to see one or the other twin exercising a certain dominance over his brother or sister: the one who was born first, the one who is the strongest, the tallest or the one who was the tallest at birth… 

Twins, identical or false, of the same or different sexes, therefore have their own identity, which must be respected. 

Encourage them to assert themselves individually!

About clothing: Should I dress them in the same clothes? My answer would be: NO, don’t dress them the same way. Especially when it comes to identical twins. Obviously for you as a mother, it is easier for you to buy several identical T-Shirts, pants, dresses etc… at the same time… in this case, vary the colors, shapes….. 

You don’t have to ask them for their opinion before they are mature, because it’s a responsibility that doesn’t necessarily help them. They will make choices later, when they are more confident of their own tastes!

It is true that many mothers, starting with my own mother, were to enhance us by dressing in the same way, always walking next to each other, etc… and to “play” with our similarity. 

Of course, in our early childhood we found it worth it. As children, we were fascinated by each other by our similarity, we sometimes made each other look like each other. In the end, we were a kind of mirror from which it was difficult to turn away! 

I understand that you may find it “appealing to see twins dressed like that”, but the problem of identical clothing choice reinforces the impression that twins are one and are one. This may delay the acquisition of their independence and their own personality. 

(I would like to reassure you, today at the age of 49, with my sister we are indeed independent and each have our own personality) 

This is why it is necessary from the beginning, to try to “separate” your twins little by little, by simple and daily habits…

Do twins suffer from being “separated”?

Of course, as twins we love and demand the presence of our brother or sister! So it is not a question of not frustrating them or making them suffer!

Very often, parents who are afraid to “separate” them and hurry to reunite them at the slightest cry are mistaken. They project their own desire to have a constant double.

I hope that these reflections from my experience will be useful to you.

Sensitives Periods in Montessori Pedagogy


The sensitive periods are the result of Maria Montessori’s observation, which draws a parallel with the work of De Vries, who had discovered sensitive periods in insects.

According to Maria Montessori, every child is unique. It has its own personality, rhythm of life, qualities and possible difficulties. But all children, without exception, go through their own “sensitive periods”.

What are sensitive periods in Montessori pedagogy?

Sensitive periods are times when the child’s inner sensitivities are expressed in relation to a characteristic of the environment that causes the child to transform. They awaken in the child a particular attraction around an aspect of the environment. For example, we know that young children hear all the sounds of the environment and all languages from birth, but they will retain in particular the sounds they hear in their environment to build their mother tongue.

Sensitive periods are temporary and are limited to the acquisition of a given character.

These are special sensitivities, moments in the child’s life when the whole child is “absorbed” by a particular sensitivity to a specific element of his or her environment (the home, the classroom). These are transitional periods, they are limited to the acquisition of a specific character; once the character has been developed, the “sensitivity” ceases. It is therefore essential that the environment offers the child the means to develop at the right time by using these sensitive periods.

Maria Montessori makes sensitive periods of development laws and has defined their activity in human beings between birth and 6 or even 7 years of age, they can overlap.

Maria Montessori has defined 6 sensitive periods: 

  • The sensitive period of the order, approximately from birth to 6 years of age.
  • The sensitive period of language, more or less between 2 months and 6 years.
  • The sensitive period of movement coordination, about 18 months to 4 years.
  • The sensitive period of the refinement of the senses, about 18 months to 5 years.
  • The sensitive period of social behaviour, about 2.5 to 6 years.
  • The sensitive period of small objects, during the 2nd year over a very short period of time.

What is their importance in child development?

It is his sensitive periods that guide the child in his construction, pushed by his inner master and his vital force that “bring about” the potentialities of movement and language.

The child feeds on his environment. The latter must therefore meet its needs and take into account sensitive periods to help these traits develop as well as possible. The environment must therefore be/incarnate order, allow movement that has a defined purpose, allow language, allow right sensory experiences, allow social relationship.

The role of the parent or educator is to prepare this environment. He will observe the child and, depending on the needs identified, will link him to this environment. He must know the inner sensitivities and their duration in order to be able to recognize them in action and respond to them by building the environment.

Maria Montessori considered education as an aid to life and it is of great importance that adults rely on the sensitive periods of the child so that the child can build himself on the physical, psychological and social levels. 

According to Maria Montessori, “if the child could not obey the directives of his sensitive period, the opportunity for a natural conquest is lost, lost forever”. During these sensitive periods, the child can easily and effortlessly assimilate this or that acquisition. If the child is helped at this precise moment, the learning is done in depth. But if the child does not find the elements (in the atmosphere and equipment) that meet his or her needs at the time, the sensitivity will gradually fade.

Maria Montessori was convinced that the forces of development are included in the living being and that the work of education consists in preserving their spontaneity, and in removing anything that could weaken them and prevent them from flourishing (obstacles).
 The child must build his own personality and develop his motor and intellectual faculties. Therefore, the adult must have full confidence in the child’s strengths, respect his or her freedom of action and prepare the necessary and supportive environment for his or her development. The adult must be able to observe the child’s different rhythms, he must know his child well by showing attention and respect.

Observation and respect, trust in the child are key words in Montessori pedagogy. We will have the opportunity to come back to this soon.

Letting-go in Montessori Pedagogy


Today I would like to come back to a more practical point, with which all mothers are confronted, and which is crucial in Montessori pedagogy: it is the famous “let go”.

What is letting go in Montessori pedagogy?

Contrary to some preconceived ideas and outdated methods today, educating a child does not mean formatting his mind, but helping him to train himself alone, to develop his autonomy. The “letting go” does not mean in any way that any parental or other authority (teachers) must be renounced. 

The child, for his good development, needs rules and limits. It is simply a question of being vigilant without being confronted with a frontal struggle and without surrendering.

The basis of “letting go” when raising a child is TRUST. Confidence in oneself, in certain values that one wishes to transmit, but also and above all TRUST in one’s CHILD. This will give him the vital energy to grow well. 

Be in a virtuous circle of respect, while making it safe, respect the child’s freedom as much as possible. You will see that very soon your child will give it back to you.

There is no model child

To do this, however, an essential behaviour is to try to abandon the idea of a model child. In general, we do not know everything about them and very often parents tend to idealize their child. Asking your child to do like such a person (sister, older brother, cousin, boyfriend, etc.) who is wise, will have no effect.

Copying our friends’ methods on their children is futile, focusing our attention on their models, and only on them, is neglecting the identity of one’s own child, one’s own needs, rhythm and development, which are ultimately the essential ones.

Being parents can be learned. Our children’s education is made up of ERRORS as well as SUCCESS. 

There is no perfect parent

My little advice is to start by accepting that the perfect parent doesn’t exist, to undramatize and stop making yourself sick with each slip-up. This builds confidence and creates a safe and reassuring atmosphere for your child, which is the most important thing he or she needs above all.

Stop doing things reluctantly with your children under the pretext that “good parents do it”. Doing something with your child by force is counterproductive, you risk making yourself impatient and unpleasant and the experience will not be rewarding for you or your child who will feel it. The child perceives all our emotions.

So let’s stop feeling guilty, let’s think about all the things we do or will do with pleasure in the company of our child. 

Cooking with him, taking him to an exhibition, spending time with him and sharing common interests … let’s not sacrifice ourselves, it’s useless. 

The child will certainly feel that you are happy to be with him/her, that you really enjoy sharing these common activities. This will strengthen your bonds and enhance your child’s confidence.

Important principle of education. 

* Education is first and foremost about TRUSTING to the child.

* There are no perfect parents, everyone experiments.

* Verbalize, explain everything to your child, you will be surprised at the effect you get.

Explain rather than impose

With young children, it is useless to fight or impose things.

He doesn’t want to put on his pants? Okay, distract him for a few moments, for example, show him through the window the big truck passing by, and resume the dressing session a minute later when the pressure is off.

When you disagree with your child, there is only one watchword: explain it to him/her. 

For example, if he takes his classmate’s or brother’s toy, explain why it should be returned to him: it is his toy, would you not like it if someone took your toy from you? Rather than tearing it out of his hands and returning the toy to the boyfriend without a ticket.

Another example for the older ones:

Explain how important it is to work well in school, to make this or that assignment. Not “because it is necessary”, which would be an obligation, but for his own good, for his own future. Your child is obviously worthy of understanding these explanations and will feel valued, full of confidence, his esteem will be felt and he will be appeased.

So much for today, I hope that this reading has served you well.

Have a great day. 

Child development from 0 to 6 years of age


As I promised you, I am now focusing on the first development plan, i.e. on the characteristics and needs of children from 0 to 6 years old.

Characteristics of the child from 0 to 6 years old


Maria Montessori named the child in the foreground “Moebelkind” or “the child – furniture”: for her the starting point of her discoveries is the adaptation of the furniture to the size and strength of the child to free her movement. A child needs to have both feet on the ground to access concentration, to be able to reveal his true nature.

A vulnerable being

The child in the foreground is a vulnerable, sensitive being who must be welcomed in humanity.

He needs order and attention.

A being of communication and language

A baby is a great communicator, he needs to be caught up in a language relationship to develop. Language and gestures are part of the child’s psychic food. 

An observer

The child is a passionate explorer. He needs to exercise his movement to explore. 

He’s a sensory explorer. Everything he apprehends from the world around him goes through his senses. The first organ of discovery is the mouth. From the moment he can sit down, he detaches himself from the ground, the hand is released and takes over to explore by manipulating. Through the senses he builds his inner world. 

He also needs to repeat his experiences to build his psychological and physical life. 

Responding to needs through appropriate environments

To meet these needs, the specific approach of Montessori pedagogy, as we have seen, is to provide adapted environments, known as “prepared environments”. There are 4 environments for the first development plan:

– The home (and yes! it is too often forgotten): from birth to 5-6 months

– The Nido: from 3 months until the guaranteed walk. The assured walk also corresponds to the acquisition of the clamp with the opposite thumb and the first intentional words. It is a real development stage. 

– The children’s community: from walking to 2.5 to 3 years old 

– The children’s house: from 2 and a half years old / 3 to 6 years old

These environments have common characteristics:

Order. Every object, every being has its place and order. The child withdraws his security from order and orientation
Motives for activities = psychic food. These reasons constitute the possibility of work. 
Sensory stimulation tailored to the child’s needs.

They also have differences, which I will come back to later.

Adults are also part of the “environment”

The adult attitude (it is one of my favourite subjects, and I will often come back to it on this blog), must also be adapted, and different at each step:

At the Nido

  • Observation. From birth to safe walking, the adult must observe the child with particular attention. This look helps to support the child’s activity. Observation is part of a search for the child’s new faculties.
  • Attention. He needs to share, to be nourished by the relationship, which allows him to be more and more autonomous by keeping the good memory of the relationship. 
  • Intent. The gestures and the way of speaking to a child are very important because children are very sensitive and certainly perceive intention before meaning. 

To the Children’s Community

  • Observation
  • Attention = COLLABORATION. Adults should never do anything without a child. The child is encouraged to participate in all tasks in the community and at home. Autonomy develops through scaffolding. Any object offered to the child is presented, because the culture is TRANSMITTED. This transmission is formal or informal (the child observes). 
  • Maximum effort. The little child is a hard worker. The adult must provide him with opportunities for maximum effort: carrying furniture and other heavy things builds trust in the child, and shows that with effort, the world belongs to him. 

At the Children’s House

  • Observation
  • Providing an environment that allows sensory experiences, activities with a defined purpose, access to writing and reading in different languages (mathematics, language, music)

So much for the general attitude … but when and how to intervene with the child? This is a big question if we do not want to hinder its development, as Maria Montessori says.

That’s why in the next post, I’ll talk to you about sensitive periods.

The 4 Stages of Development of Human Babies


Before going into the concrete aspects of accompanying young children, I would like to recall some of the founding elements of Montessori pedagogy. Some people think that Montessori is above all equipment, activities adapted to children.

But for me, the most important thing beyond the equipment is the way we look at the child. Before proposing things to a child, you must observe him, look at him to better understand what his real needs are. And in this observation, Maria Montessori helps us a lot.

A child’s development takes place in successive jumps

Maria Montessori’s vision of education, which I share, is above all education as an “aid to life”, an education that takes into account the fundamental needs of the child at different stages of his or her development. For Montessori (and others!), life is not linear.

It is experiences that make it possible to grow, to evolve and not the passing of time. The child develops in successive jumps. It goes through periods during which characters will develop, mature and then give birth to a different personality. She talks about birth and rebirth. 

The 4 child development stages

To better understand her reasoning, Maria Montessori developed a complete vision of these steps, which she named the 4 development stages. These 4 stages can be found in other authors: Piaget, Freud. 

The 4 development stages is a psychological approach to child development, for the educator or even for the parents a guide for the children, since it is from the knowledge of these periods that we will prepare an environment adapted to the child.

Some of you may already know them, but I think it would be useful to remind you of them.

  1. 1st development stage, from birth to 6 years of age: early childhood
  2. 2nd development stage, from 6 to 12 years old: childhood
  3. 3rd development stage, from 12 to 18 years old: adolescence
  4. 4th development stage, from 18 to 24 years old: maturity

In each stage there are 2 phases: 

  • A creative, progressive phase
  • A phase of maturation, character confirmation, refinement

Indeed, the child needs time off to integrate, digest, metabolize what he has observed, absorbed. It cannot always be active. Excessive stimulation causes overexcitement, frustration, uneasiness. 

Understanding child development

Maria Montessori has developed a dynamic diagram of these development stages, which makes it possible to better understand, beyond their succession, the specificities of each stage and how they relate to each other. It is the famous schema of the “bulb”, which presents the importance of the 1st development stage (the one that is the subject of this blog), in particular because it also formalizes prenatal life.


On this diagram we have 3 colors. Black is unconscious construction, black metaphorically evokes the fact that development is very hidden, invisible to the naked eye. Red is the visible construction, intense period. Green represents a more peaceful development.

The X is the unknown, to symbolize that there will always be a part of the unknown in humanity. 

The bottom graph represents traditional education, and shows that it does not take into account the characteristics of children at different periods of their lives, since they begin at 6 years of age, and that the older they grow, the more they have to learn. 

Maria Montessori started the connections with the educational system on the Bulb at the nursery school. She indicates the names of the great educators associated with each structure, since the adult’s role is to build this favourable environment. 

The environment must adapt to the child at each period, so that the child who has become an adult is able to adapt and act on his environment when he has become mature. Indeed, even if the child has in him from birth a certain equipment, an inner strength that will allow him to build himself, it is not enough, he needs a favourable environment that will allow him to develop this strength, an environment in which a child can make experiences that will nourish him. 

In the next post, I will come back to the first development stage in more detail. See you soon!