As children grow and develop, there are marked changes that occur in what they think and talk about and what interests them. As they turn six or six and a half or even earlier, they begin to ask for the reasons for things. Why are things the way they are? Who is the boss in this situation? Is it fair? When my friend’s parents allow this, why can’t we do it?

This development, for that is what it is, is as significant as the child’s first step or first ‘no’ and is also a cause for celebration. There are two aspects to this need for reason. One is that their mind is ready to think, imagine and understand how things work. And secondly, this is a time for the development of morality and justice. Dr. Montessori says, in the field of morality, the six year old is in search of his own inner light. They feel compelled to arrive at good or bad, fair or unfair by their own reasoning. Supporting them through this phase is important.

They become indefatigable negotiators who can sometimes be exhausting to deal with. Children who were so far content to accept their parents’ rules and opinions suddenly seem to reject them for their own or their peer groups’ if that is more acceptable to them. In most situations, appealing to their logic and reason would be the best way of enlisting their support and participation. However, there may be times when the children need to understand that an adult’s life experience is significantly more than theirs and some things cannot be negotiated.

– Prabha Karthik, AMI Elementary Trainer-in-training