Dr. Montessori writes in The Secret of Childhood that in order to work well with each other, the first step is the modification of the adult, with two required components: the prepared environment as conducive to life and a shift in the adult’s attitude, toward life, toward children, toward the self. The true challenge is in helping the adult lose their false impressions of themselves and of the child, allowing only true impressions to shine forth.
“A teacher, therefore, who would think that he could prepare himself for his mission through study alone, would be mistaken. The first thing required of a teacher is that he be rightly disposed for his task…. It is not sufficient to have a merely theoretical knowledge of education.”
We have to find our own starting point for improvement; that we are so concerned with correcting the children’s faults that we forget to look to ourselves and to our own responsibility. It is erroneous to think that we can study the child on an intellectual level only. Intellectual preparation is also necessary, with the various techniques we use, but spiritual preparation must precede the intellectual level. Joosten has added that it is a question of achieving a revolution within ourselves.
The results of our internal preparation aid us in serving the child. We need to reevaluate the concept of normality, instruction, etc. Children have a lot to offer; some of their qualities include spontaneity, curiosity, ever-forgiveness, love from the heart – all qualities we should strive to retain.