Respect (Montessori)

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Respect is a fundamental value within the Montessori educational philosophy. Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of respect for self, others, the environment, and the learning materials[1].

This principle manifests in the Montessori classroom through the emphasis on courteous behavior, the expectation that students will take care of their environment and materials, and the recognition of the rights of others to work undisturbed. Children are taught to handle materials carefully, to move quietly and purposefully within the classroom, and to communicate with their peers and teachers in a respectful manner[2].

Montessori Quotes on Respect

"We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.

— Maria Montessori, "Education for a New World"

Research and Critiques on Respect in Montessori


The emphasis on respect in Montessori classrooms has been found to foster a positive social environment, in which children demonstrate care for others and for their surroundings[3]. Some studies suggest that the Montessori approach can be particularly effective in promoting social-emotional development, partly due to its emphasis on respect[3].


Critics argue that the Montessori emphasis on respect and self-regulation might be challenging for some children, particularly those with behavioral issues or from backgrounds where these values are not emphasized.

Comparison to Other Methods

While respect is a common value in many educational systems, the Montessori method places a particular emphasis on this concept and integrates it into every aspect of the learning environment. Respect is not only expected in interactions between individuals, but also extends to the treatment of the environment and materials[2].

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. Lillard, A. (2005). Montessori: The science behind the genius. Oxford University Press, USA.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lillard, A. S. (2012). Preschool children's development in classic Montessori, supplemented Montessori, and conventional programs. Journal of School Psychology, 50(3), 379-401.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lillard, A. S., & Else-Quest, N. (2007). The early years: Evaluating Montessori education. Science, 313(5795), 1893-1894.
  4. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.