Maria Montessori’s philosophy

Maria Montessori’s philosophy is based on the principle that everything relevant to the life of the child is provided in an appropriate, stimulating and sensitive environment. In this way, learning through discovery and self-direction is nurtured. According to Montessori, the child possesses an inner dynamic spirit which, given the appropriate environment, manifests itself in a desire to learn and to attain a high level of independence. The purpose of Montessori education, therefore, is twofold: to help the individual to reach self-awareness and self-worth, and to fully develop the individual’s various potentialities.

About Maria Montessori and her philosophy

Maria Montessori was a scientist, who was earth-bound and highly spiritual in her pursuit of truth. She studied medicine, specialising in psychology and anthropology, and she was an outstanding mathematician. She studied educational methods for many years. Two seemingly paradoxical extremes are at the centre of her pedagogy:

  • The universal characteristics of the human child;
  • And the child as a unique, unrepeatable, respectable, and admirable individual to be unconditionally accepted as one of life’s most marvellous expressions.

Through careful and exhaustive observation, she discovered that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment (the absorbent mind). She also discovered the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto-didactic materials she provided (Montessori materials). Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education is based on a solid knowledge of biology, psychiatry, and anthropology. She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, seeing the universality of the laws of human development. You can research Maria Montessori and her philosophy through the various books in our collection. By reading about Montessori's theories and practices you will be able to apply her teachings.

The Montessori approach

Maria Montessori’s philosophy and her approach offer a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a model within which each individual child's inner directives guide the child toward wholesome growth. The transformation of children from birth to adulthood occurs through a series of developmental planes. Montessori philosophy and practice changes in scope and manner to embrace the child's changing characteristics and interests:

  • The first plane of development occurs from birth to age six. At this stage, children are sensorial explorers, constructing their intellects by absorbing every aspect of their environment, their language and their culture;
  • From age 6 to 12, children become conceptual explorers. They develop their powers of abstraction and imagination, and apply their knowledge to discover and expand their worlds further;
  • The years between 12 and 18 see the children become humanistic explorers, seeking to understand their place in society and their opportunity to contribute to it;
  • From 18 to 24, as young adults, they become specialised explorers, seeking a niche from which to contribute to universal dialogue.

The Montessori movement

Maria Montessori’s pedagogical principles and philosophy are rooted in a social movement intended to champion the cause of all children. It is intended for children in all strata of society, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, within and beyond educational institutions. Maria Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale in 1929 to further the reach of her philosophy. The objectives of the association are to uphold, propagate and further the pedagogical principles and practice formulated by Maria Montessori for the full development of the human being. The Montessori movement works to assist children and their families in a variety of settings. Montessorians serve as advocates for all children, championing the rights of the child in society.

Learn more about Maria Montessori

Discover the philosophy of Maria Montessori through the books in our collection. We offer a wide range of her books, such as books about child development. If you want to delve deeper into Montessori’s philosophy, you can read about her advanced method. For more information, contact us by sending an e-mail to