Was God the Original Montessori Instructor?

We are currently spending a lot of our time keeping our 15-month-old grandson, Colt. His aunt Erica, the daddy’s sister, lives with us, and the 3 of us tag-team to interact with this little bundle of joy and neediness to bless his life, and have ours blessed in turn.

Last night, Erica was researching on the internet some pointers on interacting with Colt, and came across some items about how it is done in the Montessori system. One of the things they do is to try to “get onto their level” by keeping things low, having their sleeping mats on the floor, 15-inch-tall work-stations for them to play and learn at, having adults get down onto the children’s level to relate to them, etc. A short while after she told me this, it dawned on me: That’s exactly what Jesus did: He came down onto our level.

So, I thought, in what other ways does God operate in the Montessori model? I looked at the Wikipedia article, and here are some thoughts about possible parallels:

  • “Mixed-age classrooms”: God puts “baby” Christians in with “teen-age” ones and “mature” ones. Each different “age” learns lessons both from the other age-groups, and from the interacting.
  • “Student choice of activity within a prescribed range of options”: How true is that of our lives! Each of us has choices, but not unlimited ones. And how we grow is determined by how we apply those choices. And in the final analysis, though the range of our choices may appear to be very different depending on who we are and where we come from, ultimately, our choices about the things that matter (values, ideals, etc.) are very similar.
  • “Uninterrupted blocks of work time”: In the final analysis, each of us has to deal with our aloneness. No one can take it away from us, just as no one can experience death for us. We are given our aloneness to learn to “work” with the One who gave it to us.
  • A “‘discovery’ model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction”: How often have we wished God would just make things clear??? Instead, we have to learn from the “materials” we are given to work with—the people, the circumstances, the challenges, the limited revelation over time…you fill in the blank—what are the “materials” you’ve been given to learn from?
  • “Specialized educational materials developed by…[the] instructors”: Perhaps in eternity we will see just how “specialized” the “educational materials” are that have been developed by our Instructor Himself! It is obvious (to those with eyes to see) that we are being taught in unique and individualized ways, learning things that are so precious to us that they can only be shared with our Teacher, coming to know our “hidden name” as something precious, to be treasured.

The emphasis on “independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological developments in society” sound similar in scope to the relationship with our Father and the challenges of developing our individual and unique giftings within the context of the historical situation we are placed in.

Whether Maria Montessori knew Father God or not I cannot answer, but it appears she certainly was able to tap into His heart in developing her program!


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