Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

Meeting the Needs

Have you ever heard of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?  Simply put, Maslow said that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so on.

The needs, in order, are:

1. Biological and Physiological – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, physical contact, sleep

2. Safety – protection from elements, security, order, stability, freedom from fear

3. Love and belonging – friendship, intimacy, affection and love

4. Esteem – achievement, mastery, independence, self-respect, respect from others

5. Self-Actualization – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences


When the basic physiological and safety needs are met, relationships become the focus.  As caregivers of young children, we take primary responsibility in making sure that the first three needs are met.  (Esteem needs, which I will come back to in a later post, are met through a careful combination of individual work and guidance by others.)

Everyone needs to have a feeling of belonging, acceptance, love and connection.  Two of the ways that we do this with children are:

1. LISTEN & LEARN – listen when they are excited, listen when they are sad, listen when they have news to share, listen when they are angry, listen when they ask you a question, listen when they don’t understand, listen when they learn something, listen when they are talking . . . just truly listen and learn about the child!

2. EMPATHIZE – understand and share the feelings of others.  Very well explained here (

what it might sound like – “Wow, it is really sad that your snack spilled all over the floor.  That stinks!”

Listening and empathizing are a good start to building a healthy, trusting, relationship.

More to come next week . . .


(information from –

(image from –

Comments are closed.