If you needed a reminder about how intelligent, observant, and forward-thinking Maria Montessori was, type “Montessori quotes” into a search engine. Her words reflect an insight into childhood development in the first half of the 20th century that was unlike any other research being done at the time or for decades to come.
Her theories were based on observation, practice, and reflection, but she brought a reverence for childhood to her work that can not be duplicated in a scientific study.
Maria Montessori thought kids were pretty amazing.
Dr. Montessori dedicated her life to understanding childhood development and sharing her knowledge with the educational community. At the heart of everything she did, was the belief that children come into this world with an internal desire for growth, learning, and independence.
She believed that it is our job — as their parents and teachers — to guide them to experiences, encourage curiosity, establish safe boundaries that allowed for mistakes, and — most importantly — teach them just as much as they need to be able to do something on their own.
Here are a few of her inspiring words:
Montessori Quotes about Joyful Learning
Dr. Montessori understood, decades before it became the norm, that children learn through play and movement. She understood that, for a child, the productive, purposeful actions they take to gain independence within their environment (we call it work) is fun!
Learning is a natural extension of a well-prepared environment. This component of the Montessori Method is alive and well in today’s Montessori classrooms. Visit a good Montessori school and you’ll see children actively engaged with the classroom materials and their peers — hard at work AND having fun!
“The satisfaction which they find in their work has given them a grace and ease like that which comes from music.”Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
“As we observe children, we see the vitality of their spirit, the maximum effort put forth in all they do, the intuition, attention and focus they bring to all life’s events, and the sheer joy they experience in living.”Maria Montessori, The Child, Society and the World (Unpublished Speeches and Writing)
“Discipline is born when the child concentrates his attention on some object that attracts him and which provides him not only with a useful exercise but with a control of error. Thanks to these exercises … the child becomes calm, radiantly happy, busy, forgetful of himself and, in consequence, indifferent to prizes or material rewards.”Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Montessori Quotes about Peace
Maria Montessori strongly believed that, if peace on earth were to ever prevail, it would begin with the children. Montessori classrooms are places where children are shown the value of respect, compassion, and kindness through daily interactions with each other and the adults in the environment.
Children learn respect, because they are shown respect and they learn compassion, because they are shown compassion. Through the Montessori curriculum we teach an appreciation for diversity and respect for all cultures.
People fear that which they do not understand. In the Montessori classroom, we seek to understand.
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
“Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
“If we are among the men of good will who yearn for peace, we must lay the foundation for peace ourselves, by working for the social world of the child.”Maria Montessori, International Montessori Congress, 1937
Montessori Quotes about Teachers and Guides
As parents and teachers we often find ourselves wondering if we’re doing a good job. We just want to know if our kids are going to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, kind human beings who will one day get out there and leave a positive mark on the world.
Montessori understood that it is the adult’s job to prepare themselves first in order to be of best service to the child. As a parent, your job is to be there to offer support and guidance. It is not your job to do for them that which they can do for themselves. That is their job and it’s a very important one, so let them do it.
Montessori teachers learn to wait and watch, without intervening. We learn that experience is the best instructor. We believe that we are not in control of the process of a child’s development… we are merely observers and must take what we observe and use it service of the child.
“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
“The fundamental help in development, especially with little children of 3 years of age, is not to interfere. Interference stops activity and stops concentration.”Maria Montessori, The Child, Society and the World
“The teacher of children up to six years of age knows that she has helped mankind in an essential part of its formation. […] she is happy in the knowledge that in this formative period they were able to do what they had to do. She will be able to say: ‘I have served the spirits of those children, and they have fulfilled their development, and I kept them company in their experiences.'”Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Serve the spirits of your children. Allow them to have their own experiences, make their own mistakes, and build their self-confidence along the way. Let them think and plan and decide and fail and succeed.
“Keep them company in their experiences.” How beautiful.
You might also like these posts from Children’s House Montessori School of Reston:
- What is Montessori? And Other Common Questions
- Understanding Montessori: What do the Kids do All Day?
- 10 Ways to Encourage Independence in Your Child at Home
- Why Choose Montessori: Discover how the Montessori Method can transform your child’s life
- The quotes featured in this post came from The American Montessori Society and Association Montessori Internationale
- Does it work? What research says about Montessori and student outcomes National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector