Personality (Montessori)

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In the Montessori pedagogy, personality is defined as the unique combination of mental and physical attributes that define a child's individual self. Maria Montessori believed that an appropriately prepared environment and the freedom to act spontaneously according to their natural impulses nurture the child's personality and allows them to reach their full potential[1].

The formation of personality is seen as a critical aspect of a child's development and is shaped by both their genetic makeup and their experiences. The Montessori philosophy suggests that when children are allowed to explore and learn at their own pace in an environment that respects and encourages their individuality, they are able to form a strong, positive personality[2].

Montessori Quotes on Personality

"The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practised to perfection only when working among children.

— Maria Montessori, "The Absorbent Mind"

Research and Critiques on Personality in Montessori


A positive, self-directed learning environment can promote the development of autonomy and self-efficacy, both important components of personality[3].


Critics of Montessori argue that the emphasis on individuality may limit opportunities for cooperative learning and could lead to a lack of structure that some children may need.

Comparison to Other Methods

While many educational philosophies acknowledge the importance of individual differences and the development of personality, Montessori is unique in its explicit emphasis on providing an environment tailored to the individual needs and interests of each child, and the belief that this fosters the development of personality[3].

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[4] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Standing, E.M. (1957). Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work. New York: Plume.
  2. Montessori, M. (1949). The Absorbent Mind. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lillard, A.S. (2013). Playful Learning and Montessori Education. American Journal of Play, 5(2), 157-186.
  4. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.