Most Montessori guides and professionals come to work with children initially based on their love of children. While doing so they realize the methodology completely supports the child’s natural development in every way including emotional, social and intellectual. It is easy to love children, however, the impact our love and guidance can have on the future of humanity is profound. This deep love and passion must be at the forefront of all societal influences.
“Now, what really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission.” Maria Montessori
As an administrator the most rewarding part of working with Montessori professionals is having the opportunity to assist in supporting and guiding their professional development so they can best serve the child. The guide should be honored and elevated as the most important member of the school, next to the children of course. Guides must be recognized by the school community for their high quality of training and their commitment to continued professional development.
Completing the Montessori training is a huge accomplishment for any teacher, however, this is just the beginning of the true learning process. The transformation of the adult will come as one works with the children, although it takes many years to perfect.
It is important for the administrator to find ways that the school community can support the development of a newly trained guide. When possible, interning with an experienced guide or working as an assistant for a year can provide invaluable hands-on experience. If this is not possible, the new guide can be matched with a seasoned mentor within the school. This mentor should meet regularly with the new guide, to provide emotional and professional guidance in navigating the first years of working with children and parents.
One of the most important aspects of on-the-job training for the newly trained adult is to gain the necessary awareness of how best to ‘follow the child’. The children teach us so much on a daily basis if we are alert and open to learn from them. As an administrator I respect the continued need of all members of the school community to gain a deeper and richer understanding of the child.
Maria Montessori spoke extensively regarding the importance of continued personal self-study.
“An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices. The first step is self-preparation of the imagination, for the Montessori teacher has to visualize a child who is not yet there, materially speaking, and must have faith in the child who will reveal himself through work.” Maria Montessori
There are also opportunities beyond one’s own school which can be maximized to support the development of staff. Working with other AMI schools in the local Montessori community to share the deep and rich talents that exist within our own network can unlock many possibilities for enhanced learning. Here in Phoenix we are fortunate to have an AMI training center. Training centers might offer workshops or continuing education events that any Montessori guide can take advantage of. Becoming active in a local alumni association also provides opportunities to engage on a regular basis with like-minded people, and to draw inspiration from others engaged in this essential work with children.
As an administrator I feel it is my responsibility to make continuing development possible for the Montessori guides of our school community. This includes finding ways to raise the financial support necessary to support our teacher’s continuing education. Attending annual refresher courses offered by AMI as well other non-Montessori workshops and courses can provide valuable insight and motivation to our guides.
The blend of continued learning, professional development and love of the child contributes to the success of Montessori professionals. From personal experience, this also develops into deep happiness and great personal satisfaction. Our work is the most important work: to support the development of humanity.
Having been a Montessori Head of School for over 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with and learning from 100’s of Montessori professionals, parents and students. During those experiences, my passion, love and understanding of the human spirit and Montessori Method continues to increase due to the willingness to learn from others and the children.
Sherri Sampson has over 20 years of experience as Montessori Head of School, having founded and developed two a highly successful Montessori schools in Arizona. Sherri holds an AMI diploma in Primary and the Orientation to Adolescent Studies.