The Prepared Adult

Hello Friends,
During my training as a Montessori educator, and the years that followed as a (9-12) teacher and lifelong learner, I have always appreciated the emphasis Maria Montessori put on the “Prepared Adult.”  In her book The Absorbent Mind, Dr Montessori states, “the real preparation for education is the study of one’s self.”  This same sentiment is echoed in educational theorist and author Parker Palmer who claims that it is of the utmost importance for a teacher to know themselves because we teach who we are whether we know it or not.  When we become more aware of our own gifts, blindspots, desires and fears, we become better at understanding our students and the importance of their own internal journeys.


As we returned from our two-week holiday break, many of us described the need and value around rest. This week, the American Montessori Society highlighted a book by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, called Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. The AMS article drew a connection between the “Prepared Adult” Maria Montessori wrote about, and the importance of how rest and restoration play a role in preparing us to be fully present with each other and our students; “Whether due to a lack of time, a lack of awareness, or a false belief that one lacks worth, many individuals neglect self-care… attention to personal needs, however, is vital as it allows an individual to do the inner work necessary to truly connect with and understand themselves, which is the key to gaining the capacity to effectively give to others.”
The book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity identifies 7 types of rest:
1. Physical Rest
Physical rest includes both an active and passive component. The passive component includes high-quality sleep, while the active component involves activities such as yoga, stretching, and massage therapy. Physical rest deficits might include fatigue and body aches and pains.


2. Mental Rest
Someone suffering from a mental rest deficit might have trouble recalling why they entered a room or may lie down at night and find they are unable to quiet their racing mind as they lie down at night to sleep. Scheduling breaks throughout one’s day to remember to pause or slow down can be helpful in satisfying a mental rest deficit.
3. Spiritual Rest
Spiritual rest relates to the fundamental need for belonging. An individual experiencing a spiritual rest deficit may work only for a paycheck, feeling that their life lacks purpose. Finding ways to become involved in the community or finding a greater purpose through meditation or prayer can help those struggling with a lack of spiritual rest.4. Emotional Rest
Emotional rest is a type of calm one feels when they are able to be real and authentic, sharing their inner experiences openly with others. People suffering from an emotional rest deficit may feel the weight of an emotional burden as they suppress their feelings and may also experience the constant need to please others.

5. Sensory Rest
In today’s technological modern world, whether one is aware of it or not, there is a constant influx of sensory stimulation. Phones are ringing; the TV is on in the background; there is a quiet hum from the computer; the bright overhead lights are shining. Someone experiencing a sensory rest deficit may feel energized and happy at the beginning of the day, but becomes increasingly more agitated and irritable as the day progresses.

6. Social Rest
Although its name is misleading, social rest does not actually mean pausing social interactions; it actually means the feelings one experiences when surrounding themselves with those who give them life. To prevent a social rest deficit, individuals should consider each relationship in their life to ensure it is positive, supportive, and meaningful.

7. Creative Rest
Creative rest is the rest an individual experiences when they are able to appreciate beauty in any form. It reawakens a sense of awe and wonder. Going out in nature and creating inviting spaces with visually appealing and calming pieces of art in one’s home and work spaces are two ways to encourage creative rest.

As we enter 2023 and begin to think of this year’s intentions, resolutions, goals, etc., my hope for all of us is that we hear the whispers of Maria Montessori asking us to be “prepared adults” for our partners, friends, children and ourselves.  And to be a “prepared adult” we must seriously look at how integral rest (including all 7 types) plays a role in our lives.



Jeff Groh

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