I am a Montessori Infant/Toddler teacher, and just finished my first week in a new school with 15 children between 15 monthes and 2.5 years. I find myself in a situation of working with several new collegues who often respond to the children in ways that I find disturbing.
I am currently involved in really exploring how to respond to tantrums and intensive upset in a classroom/childcare environment, which is really very different that being one on one with a child at home. We have one little boy who melts down by throwing himself on the floor hitting and kicking any adult who tries to hold or comfort him with touch, and screams intensely. The response of my fellow teachers is to tell him very sternly in angry voices "that's totally inappropriate to scream like that in my classroom" and to place him in a our little blue arm chiar until he has calmed down, at times, physically standing over him in the chair so that he is contained there, saying things like "no, you have to be calm".
I find myself to be greatly disturbed by this type of response, and yet feel that there is some pressure to "be in control" of the classroom. It seems as though tantrums are viewed as a sign that the teacher is not "in control" and therefore they must be shut down as soon as possible. When a child goes so beyond like this, distraction does not seem possible, especially when he stiffenes and arches his back when held or picked up. My impulse is to simply get down on the ground with him, and "hold space" for him, talking calmly and gently with reassurance. But this would most likely mean that the tantrum and screaming would last longer than if forcibly shut down. With 14 other kids in the room, this seems to pose a challenge....
I hope soemone out there has experience as a Motnessori toddler teacher or day care provider who is bringing an AP appraoch into their classroom or center.....I would love some help/advise!!!!! To be honest, I feel very alone and greatly judged by my colleages who seem to think I "don't take action" when a child tantrums.