Maria Montessori's Educational Philosophy Research Paper by Mary Sullivan

An examination of the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori in Catholic thought.
# 145733 | 6,104 words | 20 sources | MLA | 2007 | US

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Maria Montessori's contributions to the field of education have had far reaching positive effects. She was a courageous intelligent woman who was a beacon of light at the threshold of the modern era. Into a world where children were treated as blank sheets of paper to be written on Maria Montessori inserted insight and sensibility. She believed that children were not born as an empty vessel waiting to be filled by the ideas of adults but that children were already filled with a soul and personality waiting to immerge. With this perspective, the child could no longer be casually dismissed but had to be seen as a fascinating individual with free will and original ideas. This paper seeks to introduce the philosophy of education and pedagogical methods of Dr. Maria Montessori and show that they are is consistent with the Catholic understanding of human dignity as illuminated in the catechism of the Catholic Church.

Dignity of Man
Foundations of a Philosophy
Development and Practice

From the Paper:

"Her first significant contact with children was at the Orthophrenic School. It was a school for children with special needs. In those days, these children were called "idiots," "feeble-minded," or, with a kinder slant, "uneducable." The word "orthophrenic" is derived from two words: "ortho" and "phrenic." The first means straight, upright or correct, and the latter relates to things of the mind. In opening the Orthophrenic School, the state sought to "correct the mind" of children who suffered from mental illness and apparent maladies which effected their ability to learn and function at home or school.
During her two-years at the school she made scientific observations and notations of the children and their behavior. In her notes, she relayed the situation of an eleven year old girl who could not sew although she had been patiently shown how many times. Maria Montessori decided to teach this child a pre-sewing activity; one that would be simpler but one that would employ a similar set of skill. She showed the girl how to weave strips of paper and the child was able to acquire the technique. Subsequently, she was able to sew. Through these sensitive observations and exercises, Maria concluded that these children were teachable but they needed "to be taught in a different way" (Kramer, 1988, p. 112)"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Augustine, Confessions, AD 397, (; 08/05)
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition, (Strathfield, NSW Australia: St Paul's Publications, pocket edition, 2000), 1994, (cited as CCC)
  • Congregation for Catholic Education, The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, (cited as: CSTTM)
  • John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People / Christi fideles, (Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, Vatican translation, 1988)
  • John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities/ Ex Corde Ecclesiae, (online version:, 08/05), 1990

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Maria Montessori's Educational Philosophy (2010, November 25) Retrieved April 19, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Maria Montessori's Educational Philosophy" 25 November 2010. Web. 19 April. 2021. <>