The real preparation for education is a study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit. -Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” – Maria Montessori
“He must rid his heart of pride and anger. He must learn how to humble himself and be clothed with charity. These are the virtues he must acquire and this inner preparation will give him the balance and poise which he will need…We insist on the fact that a teacher must prepare himself interiorly by systematically studying himself so that he can tear out his most deeply rooted defects, those in fact which impede his relations with children.” – Maria Montessori The Secret of Childhood
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.” -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind
In my primary training course we often discussed the spiritual preparation of the teacher as one of the most necessary components of a Montessori classroom. Maria felt that in addition to thoughtfully preparing an attractive and enticing environment for the child to explore, it is essential for the teacher to know herself and strive to identify and improve her flaws. When we interact with children they absorb everything we offer to them, whether it is conscious or unconscious on our part. They take in our facial expressions, our posture, our body language, the tone we take, our words, our virtues, our vices, everything! We are modeling for them how they, as a person, should act in the world, which is why it is so important to approach our work with gentleness and humility. This rings even truer for the calling of motherhood! In this season of resolutions for the new year, here are a few ways I am trying to improve myself and renew my spirit so that I can be fully present as a Montessorian and a mama for my family, and especially for our sweet baby Kate:
- Journal– I have kept a notebook off and on over the years, but this year I want to make a concerted effort to focus on my writing. My goal for keeping a journal is to observe and reflect on my own actions, keep up with plans for the future, and have a running record of all of the real and interesting things that are happening with our family. I’m trying out the bullet journal format (I have this one), but any notebook would work.
- Meditation and Prayer– My mother-in-law recommended adding 10 minutes of meditation to my day, and the idea piqued my interest. It seems like an invaluable opportunity to mentally prepare myself for the trials of the day ahead and choose to face them with grace.
- Running– I want Kate to feel at home in the outdoors, and now that she has more head control I am starting to take her out in the jogging stroller. In addition to enjoying her time outside and learning about nature, I want her to observe that I care for my body with dedication even if in the moment I feel like skipping a workout.
- Reading for pleasure– My husband is an avid reader. He seeks out new book series frequently, and always has new things to share from his reading. I greatly appreciate the way he expands my world with the things he reads, I want to spend more time reading this year so I can do the same for Kate.
Here’s to a mindful and happy new year!