It is with great sadness that we share the death of Dr. Annette Haines, director of the Montessori Training Center since 1989 and advocate for children everywhere. Dr. Haines personally trained hundreds of Montessori Guides from all over the world, including all of the Primary Directresses at Villa di Maria. After a month-long battle with cancer, Dr. Haines left this world in the early morning hours on Saturday, July 22nd surrounded by her loving family.
Laura Ceretti-Michelman, Head of VdM, expresses:
“There are no words to express the sadness that I (and many, many others) feel. Dr. Haines has done so much for so many of us and for the Montessori community around the world. Annette was an impressive woman of substance. She was strong, fiercely intelligent, endlessly curious, witty and fun. She also dedicated so much of her life working tirelessly to train teachers, mentor trainers in training, support AMI and to bring more high-quality Montessori to the world. David Kahn, a Montessori legend in his own right referred to Dr. Haines as a ‘Montessori Goddess.’ I think he was right. Dr. Haines will be sorely missed but I know that Robyn and Lakshmi will work alongside Dr. Haines’ husband, Lew, to do all they can to ensure that Dr. Haines’ legacy is preserved and to ensure that her vision of Montessori in St. Louis (and maybe around the world) is realized.”
Dr. Haines was loved by so many, who describe her as uplifting, inspiring, and captivating, with a marvelous mind. She had a passion for Montessori, but also expressed interest in conservation of natural resources, children, and animals (and horses in particular, as she and her husband Lewis owned and managed Red Fox Paso Finos, where they bred, trained and showed Paso Fino horses since 1995).
The outpouring of love for Haines was evident at her viewing and funeral, which took place last weekend. Of the Villa di Maria staff, many wanted to share memories and thoughts of their late mentor and friend.
Rebecca Callander, Upper Elementary Directress:
“Seventeen years ago, before I had chosen to take the path of Montessori, and feeling decidedly unclear on whether or not I should pursue Elementary Education, I sat in a theory lecture by Dr. Haines on Freedom and Discipline, when the training center was at CMS. I had observed a lower elementary room for several hours and, while moved by the experience, was also a little skeptical because it seemed a little too good to be true, a little too crunchy.
These are my reflections- her passing is such sad news and will be felt deeply by Villa and all in the Montessori community. She filled a space in our collective Montessori hearts that cannot be replaced. Indeed, she resonated with so many of us. We are so fortunate to have had Dr. Haines be such a strong part of Villa di Maria’s legacy and of her friendship with our school. So many lives touched and transformed by Dr. Haines.”
Cristina Kerr, Primary Assistant:
“The impact that Dr. Haines had over my life is pretty big. She is the reason I returned to the US to finish the training…I could not have imagined changing training centers and learning under another trainer, it was out of the question. Her brilliance and wisdom got under my skin so deeply that nothing could have shaken it off me. I had to return to continue with her, no matter how many barriers there were in the way -and there were many. Oh but it was so worth it…She just was the best. When I found out I could not return to continue the training with her, she was very supportive and encouraged me not to give up my dream.”
In an interview she conducted with Baan Dek Montessori, Dr. Haines shares her favorite Montessori quote:
“My favorite quote comes from a little pamphlet called “Peace and Education.” In it she talks about how our age represents a time of crisis…a period of passage from one era to another comparable only to the opening of a new biological or geological period in which new conditions of life will be realized which have never existed before. The natural boundaries of mountains, deserts and seas no longer limit man, “now that he can fly over them.” (1975, p. 30) In this new age, she says, “laws and treaties” will not be enough; the limits will have to come from within. For this, we need a fundamental change in education, for —
“the child who has never learned to act alone, to direct his own actions, to govern his own will, grows into an adult who is easily led and must lean upon others. (1975, p. 23.)”
She also shared her favorites from the 1946 Lectures:
“Just imagine what a society would be like that was quiet, a society without movement. Think what would happen if all men stopped moving – if only for one week. What would happen? Everyone would die. It is not a question of social life, but of work. It is not a question of individual gymnastics. If the whole society of men all over the world made nothing but uncoordinated, jerky movements they would die in a short time. All their energies would be consumed for nothing.
Society is a complex arrangement of individuals, each of whom moves differently from the other. Keep in mind the construction of the world – each organism moves to suit its own purpose. Imagine what it would be like if all the plants stopped moving. There would be no more fruit or flowers – there would be too much poisonous gas in the air. If everything stopped – if the birds remained motionless in the trees or if the insects fluttered to the ground and remained still, if the wild beasts did not move through the jungle or if the fish stopped swimming in the water – what a terrible world it would be.
Immobilization is impossible. Nature gives a useful purpose to each animal. This is the philosophy of movement: all life is movement. Each organism has its own movement for its own purpose. The creation of the world is a harmony of all these purposeful movements.”
She will be greatly missed, but we are certain that her legacy will carry on through those she inspired, trained, and touched.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the scholarship fund at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis, for children to attend the Montessori Lab School of St. Louis.