One of Dr. Montessori's own directives is never to touch a child unless invited by him or her in some way...with that said, I think that we have to be very careful of how we touch the children and for how long. In my opinion, it really isn't a teacher's job to interact with the children in this capacity...it is the parent's job to hug and to kiss. In my experience, I have found that it is best to maintain a professional demeanor with the children in my care. This does not mean I am short, rude, inconsiderate or not aware of their feelings. It means that sometimes, I let a child cry for a little while if s/he needs to. I do offer them a tissue and surprisingly, this usually quites them down. Personally, I have seen that when we place too much importance on a sad event for the child, it becomes drawn out or overemphasized and can really interfere with the child's work/the work of others and plainly, the child's emotional health. We like to quiet down, express our feelings and then move on to something interested to do, or something helpful. Usually a sad child becomes much happier after helping someone else. This question raises an interesting point and something I have given much thought to after having a child, and bringing her with me to the Montessori school where I work. Lilli attended with me since she was 3 months old. I think this is also related to "Attachment Parenting" which I whole heartedly agree with in it's theory, but have seen some problems with in practise. It is totally possible to create an "overly dependent" child. The child should be aware that s/he has his parent's unconditional love. As a mother, I had to create opportunities for my daughter to exercise her independence and let her know that it was ok for me to walk away from her while she was being held by someone else, or for me to go out for an hour and let Dad have some one on one time. The main goal in a Children's House is for the child to develop in independence, concentration and coordination. It is a process and all children start at different places along this path. A child that has to depend on hugs and any other external action is not being allowed to develop his or her own resources for dealing with all the many emotions. Now, I don't think that any child should be left to cry on a mat by themself all day...this is neglect. The directress needs to be there for the child, but should never substitute her will for the child's own developmental needs.