Praise Montessori Philosophy For Students

Evaluative Praise Montessori Philosophy leads to a dependency on approval. Words like “Great! Good Job! Wonderful!” make and keep children dependent adult evaluation. They look to us to evaluate and decide between good and bad behavior and work, rather than forming their own judgments.

Descriptive praise practices does not evaluate what a child has done, but rather, describes it in terms so that the child is likely to recognize the truth and credit and praise herself. Learning to use descriptive praise, rather than just compliment or judge, can be difficult, but the payoffs are great. Montessori children become independent thinkers and doers, without having to look to somebody else for approval. They learn to trust themselves and their own judgment. They learn to make corrections or adjustments based upon their own evaluations.

Descriptive praise notices, mentions, and emphasizes steps in the right direction, improvements in behavior, work habits and attitude, social skills, and any absence of undesirable or negative behavior. It can also motivate reluctant or resistant students in our Montessori classrooms.
Descriptive praise has two parts: describe what you see and hear and then describe what you feel.

  • That’s a beautiful picture.
  • You are strong.
  • You’re a great cook.
  • Great job
  • That's fantastic!
  • I like the details you used in your picture. The colors you chose are so lifelike.
  • That was a heavy load. Thank you for helping me carry it.
  • The flavors in your salad were so crisp and fresh.
  • You’re using your inside voice. Thank you.
  • I appreciate that you didn’t interrupt while I was giving my Montessori lesson.
  • Thank you for not arguing.

Evaluative Praise Montessori Philosophy Examples

Planting Seeds

Instead of just saying “Good job cleaning up,” descriptive praise provides specific feedback: “I noticed you put all the red rods away neatly on their tray, and the blue rods too. The material area looks so inviting now. I feel happy seeing it so organized.” This allows the child to connect the praise to their own efforts and take ownership of their accomplishment. Generic “good job” bromides, while positive, can feel empty if not backed up with details.

Praise Montessori Philosophy benefits the adult as well. It encourages us to really observe the child closely and appreciate the small steps they are taking, rather than just noticing major achievements. The more specific we can be, the more meaningful the praise becomes. “You waited so patiently for your turn on the swing, and made friendly conversation with Marina while you waited. I feel proud of your persistence and social skills.”

Montessori Tip - Working With Your Child Singing

Over time, the evaluative praise Montessori philosophy focused on describing positive behaviors, effort, and improvement nurtures children's intrinsic motivation. They internalize the ability to recognize their own progress and strengths without relying on empty flattery. Descriptive praise develops self-evaluation skills, self-discipline, and an internal desire to keep growing. While appreciative words are always nice to hear, true self-esteem arises from children valuing their own efforts and embracing their successes on a deeper level.

It takes more thoughtful effort to use to use praise Montessori philosophy rather than evaluative praise. It takes skill and careful attention to encourage people to remain interested and to continue to strive to grow without being controlled. Learning to use descriptive praise is a skill that needs to be practiced. With time, it becomes as natural as rolling a rug or washing a table.

Developing Good Behavior
Food Prep- Montessori Practical Life

Like any habit, evaluative descriptive praise Montessori philosophy can feel awkward and forced at first. We're so accustomed to empty flattery or casual “good job” comments. But with conscious effort to narrate the specific positive behaviors we notice, it gradually becomes second nature. The more we flex those observation muscles, the easier it gets to find the right descriptive words in the moment. What seemed clumsy in the beginning starts to flow more naturally as we integrate this communication approach into our daily interactions with children. Soon, the thoughtful observations and descriptive feedback roll off the tongue as effortlessly as we complete other familiar Montessori tasks and routines. It simply becomes our way of acknowledging and reinforcing children's progress.

photos MCDC Poway