Montessori Quotes to Inspire and Uplift

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.

Black and white image of Maria Montessori from Montessori Quotes

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Maria Montessori, The Child, Society and the World (Unpublished Speeches and Writing)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:

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What is Montessori? And Other Common Questions

Despite the fact that Montessori education has been around since 1907, there are still some common misconceptions about what it is and what it isn’t. “What is Montessori?” is a huge question, really, because the answer is a lot bigger and more philosophical than the average person is expecting when they pose the question. Here are our (brief) answers, to some of the more common questions people ask.

“What is Montessori?”

Montessori (or the Montessori Method or Montessori Philosophy) is a child-centered educational approach. It is more typically associated with Early Childhood programs (ages 3 – 6), but is also popular in Infant / Toddler programs. While there are elementary, middle, and high school programs available, they are less common.

“Who was Maria Montessori?”

The short answer? A woman ahead of her time! Dr. Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy who applied her scientific observation skills to develop the Montessori Method. She spent her whole adult life working with young children and used her years of study to develop materials and practices that served to enhance the learning process and respect a child’s natural development.

“Do the kids just get to do whatever they want?”

Dr. Montessori observed that, when given the opportunity and right environment, children were naturally inclined to select activities that fostered concentration and independent learning. When a child makes a selection based on independent choice, he or she is more likely to fully engage with that material and therefore, more likely to learn whatever it is they are there to learn.

You know that feeling you get when you’re completely in your “zone”? Time flies by, you’re deep in concentration, and when you’re done with whatever it was you were doing, you feel good! That’s how work should feel. And that’s how children in a Montessori classroom feel after a solid morning work period: refreshed, accomplished, and proud.

Happy and proud after a good morning's work! What is Montessori?

“Where are the toys?”

Montessori classrooms don’t look like traditional preschool classrooms, it’s true. There is no dress-up corner or block corner and there are not trucks and dolls for the children to play with. The Montessori Philosophy extends to the materials in the classroom as well: real and functional take priority over pretend.

When you tour a Montessori school, make sure you do so during the morning work period (the Great Period) and look closely at what you see. You may not see children playing dress up or cars, but you’ll probably see them scrubbing a chair or table, watering the plants in the classroom, sewing with real needles, and painting at an easel (and then cleaning up their paint supplies). The classroom will be busy, but engaged. There will be children sitting at tables and on the floor, walking around, taking out work and putting it away. You might even catch a child doing yoga or sitting quietly in the peace corner or reading a book.

“Why are Montessori schools more expensive?”

Montessori schools tend to have higher tuition rates than traditional preschool programs, because the vast majority of Montessori schools are independently owned and operated. Each school is responsible for all of its own costs and there is no larger Montessori corporation working behind the scenes to cut expenses and offer the lowest rate in town.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a school for your child and one of them is certainly cost. Call around and compare pricing and programs to make sure you know what your tuition covers and what it doesn’t. Most importantly, take a tour! Your tuition directly impacts the staff, facilities, and program expenses, so make sure you feel good about supporting the school you choose! Visit the schools you’re considering and ask yourself:

  • Are the children happy, engaged, and relaxed?
  • Are the teachers helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable?
  • Is the classroom warm and inviting?
  • Does this feel like a good fit for my family?

Still got questions? Check out these previous posts:

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