When Dr. Maria Montessori developed her method of education in the early 1900s, she looked first and foremost at the child. Rather than holding the external objectives of an education foremost, she used the child’s inner desire to learn along with his/her specific developmental needs and tendencies to guide his growth in knowledge. This internal desire she called the horme, a powerful urge guiding the child to reach his highest potential.
In order to respect this God-given gift in the child, Montessori discerned that the child needed certain freedoms in a specially prepared environment with a trained adult who would observe and guide the child in his education. Moreover, she valued education as a way of life. She believed, like Wordsworth, that the “child is father of the man,” and so the child constructs his/her whole self in his/her tender years. She wanted children to live and work in a space specifically created for them in which they could fully live and fall in love with learning. She called the space the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House.
We at St. Francis Montessori continually strive to wonder with the child in his/her process of self-construction as we aid him/her in growth and development. Guided by our faith and the work of Maria Montessori, we are invited to contemplate the “Inner Teacher” of the child and in turn, we, the adults, are formed in the proper respect and understanding of the dignity of the child. We, with Montessori, follow Christ by looking at the child.