Celebrating 150 Years of Montessori
On the Birthday of Dr. Maria Montessori
August 31, 1870 - the day Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy. A day that the educational world and the world, in general, began to improve in how we educate our most vulnerable and deserving members, our children. And also, the day that the future of the world would begin to change because of the way those lives would be impacted by Montessori’s philosophy.
“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.”
― Maria Montessori, Education For A New World
Today we are celebrating! And why not? This woman, who was born 150 years ago, had to challenge the social norms of her day to gain a place in higher education and respect in a male-dominated environment. She devoted her mind and work to observing orphaned children and creating a learning environment for them that would harness their innate learning abilities.
In a modern world of education that places the teacher as the center of attention and the giver of knowledge that lumps all learners at one learning level and launches a generalized curriculum at the group, the Montessori philosophy diverges to give the control over to the student with a child-focused and self-paced learning strategy where each student works only to improve their own understanding - not to compete with fellow learners. Her philosophy is built on the idea that a child’s “education” is more than just academic, head knowledge. It is a development of their emotions, their inner being and their mind. One of her famous remarks was, “Our care of the child should be governed, not by a desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him the light that is called intelligence.”
Her Students & Supporters
Dr. Montessori’s philosophy revolutionized the world of education and many well-known, influential people have supported her work through their careers or have had their start in a Montessori classroom:
Mr. Rogers. Robert Frost. Alexander Graham Bell. Thomas Edison. Julia Child.
Prince William and Prince Harry. Bill and Hillary Clinton. Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Helen Hunt. Anne Hathaway. Michael Douglas. George Clooney.
Andrew Lloyd Webber. Taylor Swift. Beyonce. Sean “P.Diddy” Combs. Yo-Yo Ma.
Helen Keller. David Blaine. Mark Zuckerberg. Jeff Bezos. Anne Frank. Peter Drucker
This is not an extensive list by any means. To say that Montessori’s method has impacted young lives and the future of the world in many different countries would be an understatement. Her work has nurtured innumerable children to find their unique learning potential and to carve out their own path in this world. Her work has inspired countless educators across the globe both inside the classroom and beyond once their years in the classroom have passed to use their own talents to guide their students toward their maximum potential.
Even here at Must Be Montessori, we are continually inspired by Dr. Montessori’s work and hope to inspire you to follow in her footsteps and to “follow the child” as you learn more about Maria Montessori’s philosophy. Because, as Dr. Montessori noted and Gandhi agreed, “The child is both a hope and promise for mankind.” And in order for us to achieve peace in the world, we must begin with our treatment of children.
We hope that as we celebrate Dr. Maria Montessori - the trailblazer in Early Childhood and Peace Education - you, too, will be inspired to help build a peaceful future for us all by treating the children in your life with respect and curiosity as they grow toward independence.