Maria Montessori

“To sum up how and why this school exists and why we, as teachers, do what we do… please read the following excerpt from ‘The Tao of Montessori’ ”  –  Catherine McTamaney.

“We have been given a gift in the children we serve. How grateful we are. We are able to share in the lives of these children, to observe and to participate in the unwinding expression of their individuality. All areas of the classroom are important, but none of them is as important as the love we offer these children.

Who is ‘the child’ Maria Montessori talks about so frequently? Each child is ‘the child.’ The one who misbehaves is ‘the child.’ The one whose parents disagree with us is ‘the child.’ The one whose parents volunteer and donate and offer and support is ‘the child.’ The one who pushes on the playground. The one who just can’t seem to get to the toilet on time. The one who pours beans down the drain. The one who wiggles incessantly at nap time. The one who makes our hearts smile with the gift of a ragged dandelion. The one who thanks us for small kindnesses. The one who reminds us of our children or our parents or ourselves in a smaller body. When we recognize the transcendental child in the one who is right in front of us, it is impossible not to be loving. It is impossible not to be grateful.

Each child is ‘the child.’ Each child is filled with the unknowable, unpredictable greatness of potential. Each child promises a redemption from the culture we’ve created, from the hate and anger and war that surrounds us as adults. If we are able to recognize each child as ‘the child,’ perhaps we may serve the child more fully. Seeing each child as worthy of immeasurable respect raises the stakes… it forces us to focus on things we can’t control. In doing so, it forces us to take responsibility for unpredictable outcomes. When things go wrong, we can’t blame the children anymore. When things go well, we can’t take credit. We are left in a crooked place of gratitude, grateful to the unknowable element of the child who has left us elated or exhausted or both.”

“It is necessary then, to give the child the possibility of developing according to the laws of their nature, so that  they can become strong, and, having become strong, can do even more than we dared hope for them.”   – Maria Montessori

April 2024