Maria Montessori Quotes

Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was a female Italian physician and educator best-known for her “Montessori Method” of educating children with an emphasis on practical work. She broke gender barriers by initially thinking of studying engineering and subsequently by deciding to study medicine which was frowned upon by her male colleagues.

She later became involved in paediatric medicine which led to her increasing interest in children’s psychology and the development of her own educational method, initially used in Italy but later introduced all over the world, including the US.

Born Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, to an official working for the Ministry of Finance and a well-educated mother which was far from the rule for women at the time. Her mother proved an important influence in her decision to pursue higher levels of education. In high school, she excelled in science and mathematics. She initially wanted to study engineering (which was not a typical choice for a woman at the time) but then opted for medicine instead.

After successfully enrolling in medical school at the University of Rome in 1893, she had to face discrimination at the face of her male colleagues and professors due to her gender. Despite several hurdles, she successfully graduated in 1896 as an expert in paediatric medicine. For five years, she focused on children with cognitive delays and disabilities whom she observed in asylums in Rome and her findings subsequently influenced her later educational work.

She was also enthralled by the work of physicians and educators Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Édouard Séguin who also influenced her work. She worked with teachers educating mentally disabled children at the “Orthophrenic School” where she developed various methods of working with them that were adapted for use with mainstream children as time passed. In 1902, she started studying philosophy at the University of Rome but did not finish her studies.

In the following years, she published several papers on educational topics and anthropologically researched Italian children. In 1906, she began working at the first “Casa dei Bambini” (Children’s House) where she applied her so-called “scientific pedagogy”. Following its success, a second followed in 1907, her method was spread throughout Italy and, in the early 1910s, to other countries, including Switzerland. Her educational works were translated into several languages, including English, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Romanian. Her methods were also met by critical acclaim in the US

Did you know:

  • That her mother was the great-niece of the Italian anthropologist and paleontologist Antonio Stoppani and strongly encouraged her in her pursuit of knowledge;
  • That she was met with hostility by her fellow students and professors at the University of Rome where she studied medicine due to her gender and was forced to perform dissections of cadavers alone after hours because attending classes with men in the presence of a naked men was deemed inappropriate;
  • That she initially studied mentally disabled children and later transposed her findings also to mainstream children;
  • That she developed her so-called “scientific pedagogy” methods during her philosophy degree course;
  • That she taught children practical activities, such as sweeping, personal care, care for the environment, hand washing, cooking, etc.;
  • That she also researched her methods in India, where she was strongly assisted by her son Mario;
  • That she gave several lectures and published numerous books and papers on the education of children and the importance of sensory exploration and manipulatives;
  • That her first “Orthophrenic School” was opened in 1900;
  • that her educational method is used in three different set-ups, for children between 2 and 2.5 years of age, between 2.5 and 6 years of age, and between 6 and 12 years of age?

Inspirational Maria Montessori quotes

“All that we ourselves are has been made by the child,
by the child we were in the first two years of our lives.”
(The Absorbent Mind)

“There are many who hold, as I do,
that the most important period of life
is not the age of university studies,
but the first one,
the period from birth to the age of six.
For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself,
his greatest implement, is being formed.
But not only his intelligence;
the full totality of his psychic powers.”
(The Absorbent Mind)

“Development is a series of rebirths.”
(The Absorbent Mind)

“Let us leave the life free to develop
within the limits of the good,
and let us observe this inner life developing.
This is the whole of our mission.”
(Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook)

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due,
superior to us by reason of their innocence
and of the greater possibilities of their future.”
(Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook)

“The child is endowed with unknown powers,
which can guide us to a radiant future.
If what we really want is a new world,
then education must take as its aim the
development of these hidden possibilities.”
(The Absorbent Mind)

“We must learn how to call upon the man
which lies dormant in the soul of a child.”

“Education is the best weapon for peace.”
(1937 lecture by Dr. Montessori in Copenhagen)

“Free the child’s potential,
and you will transform him into the world.”

Maria Montessori Quotes

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