Society by Cohesion (Montessori)

From Montepedia

'Society by Cohesion' is a term coined by Dr. Maria Montessori to describe the social dynamics that occur naturally among children, particularly as they progress through the second and third planes of development (roughly ages 6-12 and 12-18, respectively). The term refers to the strong bonds that form among children, often stronger than their ties to adults. This is a crucial part of social development, promoting cooperation, empathy, mutual respect, and shared responsibility.

In a Montessori environment, 'Society by Cohesion' occurs when children demonstrate a deep care for the success and well-being of their group, prioritizing it over their individual success. They become committed members of their group, and contributing to its function and stability becomes a reward in itself. This is often facilitated by collaborative activities, mixed-age groupings, and opportunities for leadership and peer mentorship.

The development of a 'Society by Cohesion' is seen as a major step towards social integration. It helps children to develop key skills such as teamwork, conflict resolution, empathy, and understanding of social norms.

Montessori Quotes on Society by Cohesion

"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult." - Maria Montessori

"Social experience comes in the relationship of child to child, and it is the phenomenon of sympathy, in that the experience of one profits all, as if all of us could thus pool our lives for the common good." - Maria Montessori

Research and Critiques on Society by Cohesion in Montessori


Research supports the idea that collaborative learning can significantly enhance children's academic and social skills. Observational studies in Montessori classrooms have reported positive social interactions, respect, and a sense of community among children.


Some critics argue that too much emphasis on group cohesion could hinder individual achievement or creativity. It might be argued that this concept requires a high level of social and emotional maturity, which may not be feasible for all children.

Comparison to Other Methods

While many educational approaches recognize the importance of social interactions, the Montessori concept of 'Society by Cohesion' is unique in its emphasis on child-to-child bonds and group success. Traditional education methods may focus more on adult-led instruction and individual achievement. Other alternative education methods, like Reggio Emilia or Waldorf, also value social cohesion, but might put more emphasis on creative expression, individual interests, or holistic development.

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[1] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.