15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

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When you start reading through the work of Dr. Maria Montessori – founder of the Montessori Method – you’ll find a treasure trove of inspiring, uplifting quotes. While these quotes are based on education, I find them applicable to many aspects of parenting – and life more broadly.
15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

Table of Contents

Here, I share 15 of my favorite quotes as written by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. For each quote I’ve included its source (in case you want to do some further reading). I’ve also included what each quote means to me, personally, and my interpretation of it.

I hope this selection provides you with inspiration and motivation throughout your parenting journey.


On hope…

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “Education for a New World” (1946), p. 2.

This is my favorite Montessori quote! It’s foundational to my philosophy as a Montessori parent. This quote speaks to the fact that children can do great things. That they innately want to make positive contributions to their community and the world.

It’s a reminder to always value children and show them respect. A respected child has the capacity to become an agent of positive change.

As adults and parents, children also inspire us, personally, to do better. My son is my constant reminder to be a little kinder, to tread a little more lightly and to be a little more patient!


On prepared environment…

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 7, p. 147.

Core to the Montessori Method is creating an environment that your child can explore freely. Dr. Montessori teaches us that little ones learn best when they are empowered to pursue their own interests.

For me, this quote reminds us to strive towards creating an environment designed for exploration and discovery. It’s a reminder to set up a child-friendly space where my son can move around safely and of his own free will.

In a Montessori home, we can draw inspiration from the Montessori classroom by providing different ways for our child to learn. This could be via practical life activities or sensorial materials that are self-correcting and can be completed independently.

When we create a rich and engaging environment, we set our little ones up become active and engaged learners.


On success…

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 22, p. 263.

This quote makes me think to the future. When translating this to parenting, it think of it like this: “The greatest success for a parent is to watch their once dependent child grow into a capable and independent adult. An adult to navigates the world with fascination, interest and curiosity.”

So how do we work towards this ultimate goal as parents? One way is to allow our children independence and autonomy in their learning.

In Montessori, the teacher (or parent) is a guide. They support the child, but the child is responsible for their own progress.

When we provide a rich environment that keeps little ones engaged in their learning, they self-teach, self-direct and self-correct.

15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

On focus…

“The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 25, p. 283.

You know that feeling when you’re totally immersed in an activity and time moves freely? When you’re in a flow-state, hours can pass and only feel like minutes. It’s a beautiful feeling – to be totally engaged.

Maria Montessori clearly knew the joy of this feeling! In her work, it translates to the concept that concentration is the key to learning. That great joy and satisfaction comes to children who are fully engaged in their work.

This is our reminder to remove distractions – flashing lights and artificial elements. To provide our kids with a space that allows their sustained attention. As parents, we can choose self-correcting materials and present them in a way that allows our little ones to gradually build on their skills.


On discovery…

“The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Discovery of the Child” (1948), Chapter 1, p. 16.

How beautiful is the concept “to stir up life”? I find that phrase so inspiring and I think it applies to education at all stages of life. Learning something new should awaken our natural curiosity. It should ignite our desire to explore and uncover.
This quote reminds us how important it is to give children the space to develop their own interests and passions. Rather than imposing an external curriculum on them, Montessori provides a prepared environment that is safe for children to explore. Afterall, only through exploration can a child (or adult!) uncover their unique interests.

15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

On appreciation…

“The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.”=

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 7, p. 147.

Montessori believed that we should feel a sense of awe and wonder in presence of children. Sometimes, this is easier said than done! Like when you haven’t had a shower, and it’s 3pm, and your partner is home from work soon, and your child hasn’t slept and is running AMOK!

For me, it’s these that I MOST need this reminder.

So remember – this time is fleeting.

Stop, breathe in, count to ten and take in the miracle and wonder that is your child.


On memory…

“The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 6, p. 119.

The first five years of life are critical for children’s development.

My husband and I often marvel at the fact that our 16-month-old son won’t remember anything, but this time has been so memorable for us as first-time parents. While he won’t actively remember these days, he will remember how we made him feel. Everything we are doing is imprinting on his being and setting up the blueprint for his life.

Formal Montessori education can start from 18 months, but there are many elements of Montessori education that parents of smaller children can practice early on to start embedding the Montessori Method in day-to-day life: create a prepared environment, become a prepared adult, allow your child freedom within limits and observe your child each day.

On observation…

“We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe,’ but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 8, p. 179.

An often overlooked benefits on sensorial practices in Montessori is enabling children to hone their observation skills. When a child receives input via hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch, they then process that with rational or irrational thought. If we provide our little ones with tools and materials necessary to develop their senses, we help them develop their powers of observation.

15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

On play…

“Play is the work of the child.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Montessori Method” (1912), p. 60.

Okay… actually maybe this is my favorite… Children grow up so quickly. This quote is a reminder that play is a vital part of childhood. It’s through play that children learn and develop. Play helps kids develop creativity and problem-solving skills. It’s also essential for social development. If you’re practicing the Montessori Method at home, try to provide a wide range of opportunities for play and exploration. That doesn’t mean you need to provide hundreds of toys, rather a selected rage that focus on different parts of your child’s development.


On tomorrow…

“The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 8, p. 162.

Did you know that Maria Montessori believed that children have an inbuilt moral compass? That have an innate sense of justice and compassion?

This quote is about the importance of helping our kids become responsible and caring citizens. The sort of people who are committed to making the world a better place! Key to the Montessori Method (and seen in the Practical Life curriculum) are exercises that promote social and emotional development. This quote challenges us to ask – how can I help my child develop empathy, compassion and respect for others?

On growth…

“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 7, p. 148.

One of the key principles taught by Montessori is the ‘absorbent mind’. The idea that children’s minds are like fertile soil, ready to be nourished and cultivated.

By empowering children to discover their own abilities and interest, we experience the power of imagination and creativity.

The grass is always greener where it has been watered.

On education…

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 7, p. 146.

Anyone who is a tactile learner will resonate with this statement! Many children learn best through hands-on experiences. Unfortunately, traditional methods of teaching like lectures and memorization, aren’t effective for many kids (and adults!). This quote reminds us to create environments where our kids can learn through their own experiences. Weather this be in a Montessori classroom with self-correcting sensorial materials, or in an open-ended play environment, it’s important to not underestimate the power of hands-on learning.

15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

On life…

“Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “To Educate the Human Potential” (1948), p. 9.

Yet another goosebump-inducing statement. This is such a timeless and uplifting idea. Can you imagine how differently our society would run if we looked at education as lifelong process of learning and growth, rather than something we only do in the first third of our life? This quote reminds us that life is a continuous process of discovery and self-improvement. It’s but about achieving certain goals, rather about the path we take to get there.


On the senses…

“It is necessary to begin the education of senses in the formative period, if we wish to perfect them through education and make use of them in any particular human skill.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Montessori Method” (1912), p. 145.

Dr. Montessori believed that the senses were the foundation of all learning. That education of the senses was critical in the early years of life. This is where the role of the Montessori sensorial materials comes in – they are especially designed to children develop their senses during their formative years.


On intelligence…

“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.”

From Maria Montessori’s book, “The Absorbent Mind” (1949), Chapter 8, p. 176.

One of the reasons you won’t find rote learning within the Montessori classroom is that Dr. Montessori believed that intelligence was about memorizing facts. Instead, she teaches us that intelligence is about nurting the whole child. That includes growing their creativity, problem-solving and emotional intelligence. In a world where our children are increasingly anxious and rates of depression are rising, laying the foundation for emotional intelligence is more important than ever. Let’s always remember to support the whole child – even if society doesn’t support us in doing so.

15 uplifting Maria Montessori quotes on education (and what they mean to me)

The Bottom Line

While Maria Montessori’s quotes encapsulate the principles of her educational philosophy, I can’t help but finding myself drawing inspiration for everyday life.

Dr. Montessori’s words continue to inspire educators around the world to provide children with the best possible start in life. I hope they inspire you, too, whether that’s on your journey as a parent, carer, educator or grandparent!

Do you have a favorite parenting quote? Please share it in the comments below!

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