Dr. Maria Montessori, born on this day (August 31, 1870), was an Italian innovator, educator, and physician who created the Montessori Method and has inspired educators and families for over a century.
In honor of her birthday, we are revisiting one of our favorite blog posts and asked our faculty and staff to share their favorite Montessori quotes. We hope they inspire you, too! Download them as your desktop or phone wallpaper using the links below!
Maura Joyce, Head of School
“Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education…our principal concern must be to educate humanity—the human beings of all nations—in order to guide it toward seeking common goals.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
“Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants… Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New (Hu)Man who will not be the victim of events but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
I love these quotes because they speak to the purpose of education for those of us in Montessori schools. We are about the human person, developing, growing, and becoming themself to help shape the future. This is far more important than grades and test scores. For me, I missed a lot of learning growing up because I was only focused on achievement. I wasn’t in an environment that allowed for inner growth and reflection, or given room to think about the aspiration of wanting to make a better world.
Alex Abel, Middle School Director
“The real preparation for education is the study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
“An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices. The first step is self-preparation of the imagination, for the Montessori teacher has to visualise a child who is not yet there, materially speaking, and must have faith in the child who will reveal himself through work.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori method is radically different from more conventional models of education. For this reason, it requires that the guide, or teacher, drop all their preconceived notions about how a child’s knowledge is acquired. This requires great humility, especially since the primary role of the adult is to be in service of the child. Montessori tasks prospective guides with undergoing self-examination to encounter prejudices, biases, and temperamental dispositions within instead of looking to the “defects” of the child. Once the guide has gone through this process and spiritual preparation, only then can they both accept guidance (a necessity for improvement), and work on those traits (anger and pride) that bring strife to an environment. Montessori does not require perfection from the adult, but it does require deep self-awareness and time for reflection. Only then can their observations of the child be made without prejudice or assumption.
Angela Davis, Payroll Specialist
“The great gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”
—Dr. Maria Montessori
This quote is a favorite because a parent should want their child to grow up in this way. Responsible, firm independence, and strong beliefs...ready to face the world!
Peggy Larrow, Primary Teacher
“Supposing we study the phenomenon of error in itself; it becomes apparent that everyone makes mistakes. This is one of life’s realities, and to admit it is already to have taken a great step forward. If we are to tread the narrow path of truth and keep our hold upon reality, we have to agree that all of us can err … So it is well to cultivate a friendly feeling towards error, to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives… Whichever way we look, a certain ‘Mr. Error’ is always to be seen! If we seek perfection, we must pay attention to our defects, for it is only by correcting these that we can improve ourselves. We have to face them in the full light of day and realize their existence as something unavoidable throughout life.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
So many people today want to fix others, whereas Dr. Montessori taught us that the best way to improve the world around us is to first look within and improve ourselves. This is one I love because many children don’t want to do something because they think it won’t be perfect. I am always surprised when a young child thinks this.
Jenna Pel, Middle School Teacher, Humanities, Community Liaison
“If taught in the right way, the child reveals wonders, and I assure you that a new world will come from the revelations of the youth of the day, and not from leaders of today.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
“It is absolutely certain that the secret of future human power lies hidden within humanity as it develops—within young people.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
These quotes serve as reminders to continue to follow the child or adolescent, for they are enshrined with an inner sense of wisdom and hope. The fate of our future hinges upon young people. It is a call to follow their idealism, sense of justice, and optimism. For some historical context, both these quotes were from the interwar period, in which Dr. Montessori advocated strongly for the education of peace and the upholding of rights of all children, in order to bring peace to the present world, and future.
Tarsha Shields, MDC Receptionist
“Of all things love is the most potent.” —Dr. Maria Montessori
Why do I like this? Because I am big on love, loving properly, and being loved properly. I am a person who believes everyone deserves to be loved the right way and that God is love.