Children Are Our Teachers
“Finally, one day as I looked upon these children with great respect and affection, I placed my hand upon my heart and asked, “Who are you?”
- Maria Montessori
With this sense of wonder and love, Maria Montessori dedicated a lifetime to the study of children. Her research, methods and findings forever changed the way we educate young children. In the process, the children changed Maria Montessori. She came to see them as spiritual teachers and encouraged others to share her reverence for them. She wrote: “In order to become great, the grownup must become humble and learn from the child.” 1
She treasured what she referred to as “the radiance of the emerging souls of children.”2 She saw young children as the embodiment of love… She felt that in studying the child “...we discover love in all its aspects”3 and that it was the duty of parents and educators to treasure, develop and enlarge that love to the fullest possible extent. 4 In so doing, she believed that children could “help adults to solve their own individual and social problems”5 She wrote: “... children come into the world endowed with energies that could correct the errors of past generations and give new breath of life to the world.” 6
Her son Mario Montessori feared that “the more advanced man becomes, the more dangerous he will be.” He lamented, more than 50 years ago: “Man discovered flight, he has discovered atomic energy, but he has failed to discover himself.”7
Take a moment today - and every day - to gaze upon your child with eyes of respect and affection and ask: “Who are you?” and “What can you teach me today?”
1. Maria Montessori (1995). The Absorbent Mind, p. 293.
2. Maria Montessori (1966). The Secret of Childhood, Ballantine Books, New York, p. X.M
3. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 292.
4. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 295.
5. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, p.8.
6. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, p.2.
7. Mario Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, Preface, p. X.