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Books by Maria Montessori

The Discovery of the Child

Maria Montessori

In The Discovery of the Child Maria Montessori describes the nature of the child and her method. She believes that once the general principles of her method have been grasped, the parts dealing with its material application are extremely simple. Gone are teachers who wear out their lungs maintaining discipline, the verbal instruction has been replaced by 'material for development', which affords children the opportunity of teaching themselves by their own efforts. The teacher thus becomes a director of the children's own spontaneous work.

Selected Quotes from The Discovery of the Child

The extreme exactness and concreteness of a child's mind needs clear and precise help. When numerical rods are given to children, we see that even the smallest take a lively interest in counting.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 265
Touching the letters as if they were being written initiates the muscular training that prepares for writing.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 199
A child at this time is ready to rediscover his own environment and the inner wealth of impressions which he has of it. To satisfy this need he should have an exact, scientific guide such as that which is to be found in our apparatus and exercises.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 102
Our children, even those who have already been writing for a year, always continue with the three preparatory exercises, which, just as they have provoked the written language, so also they later perfect it. Our children thus learn how to write and perfect themselves in writing without writing. Actual writing is an external manifestation of an inner impulse. It is a pleasure that comes from carrying out a higher activity and not simply an exercise.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 226
When the child pronounces the sounds of the consonants he experiences an obvious pleasure. This series of sounds so varied and so well known, which come to life in the presence of an enigmatic symbol like a letter of the alphabet, are a novelty for him. There is a mystery about it that arouses in him an intense interest.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 213
Exercise on the analysis of their movements is afforded to the children through fastening frames...These various types of fastenings require sufficiently diverse and complicated manoeuvres to enable a child to distinguish his successive acts, each of which must be completed before the he can go on to the next.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 90
The light and easily moved tables, chairs, and armchairs permit a child to choose the most convenient position. He can make himself comfortable rather than sit in one place, and this is at once an indication of his inner freedom and a further means of education. If a child's awkward movements make a chair fall over with a crash, he has an obvious proof of his own incapacity. A similar movement among desks would have passed unnoticed. A child thus has a means of correcting himself, and when he has done so he has proof positive of it: the chairs wand tables remain silent and unmoved where they are. When this has happened one can say that the child has leaned how to move about.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 50
We thus began to communicate with each other through written language; and this proved to be most interesting to the children. They gradually discovered the wonderful property of writing, that it transmits thought. When I began to write, they trembled in their eagerness to know what I had in mind and to understand it without pronouncing a single word. Written language does not indeed need speech. Its whole grandeur is only understood when it is completely isolated from the spoken word.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 239
[P]reparatory actions provide a child with a mechanism that can give an impulse that should lead to an unexpected explosion of writing.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 222
The composition of words caused some real surprises. Children showed a great interest in the spoken language which they already possessed and sought to analyse it.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 218
Four-year-old children composed numbers up to a thousand; and, later, children between five and six years of age made such remarkable progress that today six-year-old children can perform the four operations on numbers running into the thousands.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 277
One can test a child's memory for colours by having him look at one colour and then advising him to go and choose a similar colour from a distant table where all colours are laid out in order. Children succeed in this exercise and make few errors. It is children of five years who are amused by this final exercise. They take great pleasure in comparing two shades and deciding upon their identity or not.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 135
Any object that we wish to use for the education of the senses must necessarily present many different qualities such as weight, texture, colour, form, size, and so forth. How are we to isolate from many qualities one single one so that attention may be focussed on it? This is done by a series and its gradations; the objects are identical among themselves with exception of the variable quality which they posses.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 103
This special type of school was christened with the charming name of Casa dei Bambini, Children's House. The first of these was opened on January 6, 1907, on the Via dei Marsi, 53, and I was entrusted with the responsibility of its direction. I perceived the social and educational importance of such an institution in all its immensity, and I insisted upon what at the time seemed to be an exaggerated vision of its triumphal future; but today many are beginning to understand that what I foresaw was true.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 37
The new education does not consist in merely providing means for the development of individual actions, but also in giving a child the freedom of disposing of these actions himself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 96
The objects in our system are, instead, a help to the child himself. He chooses what he wants for his own use, and works with it according to his own needs, tendencies, and special interests. In this way the objects become a means of growth.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 150
When a child who can write is confronted with a word which he has to read and interpret, he is silent for some time and usually reads the component sounds as slowly as if he were writing them. The sense of the word, on the other hand, is grasped when it is pronounced rapidly and with the necessary intonation. Now, in order to inflect it properly, a child must recognise the word, that is, the idea which it represents. A higher intellectual activity must therefore be brought into play.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 230
The training and sharpening of the senses has the obvious advantage of enlarging the field of perception and of offering an over more solid foundation for intellectual growth. The intellect builds up its store of practical ideas through contact with, and exploration of its environment. Without such concepts the intellect would lack precision and inspiration in its abstract operations.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 101
The muscles should always serve the intellect and thus preserve their functional unity with the human personality. If [an adult] is an intelligent creature and muscularly active, then his rest lies in intelligent activity, just as the rest of every being lies in the normal exercise of its proper functions. We must therefore provide a child in his environment with means for exercising his activities.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 83
Let us suppose, instead, that through long and patient exercises we have already trained our teachers in the observation of nature, and that we have raised them, for example to the level of a zoologist who goes out into the woods and fields to witness the early activities of some family of insects in which he is interested. He may be weary from his walk, but he is still watchful. He is only intent in not revealing his presence in the least degree so that the insects may carry out peacefully hour after hour those natural operations which he is anxious to observe.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 8
...if a teacher has enough patience to repeat an exercise as often as a child, she can measure in herself the energy and endurance possessed by a child of a determined age. For this final purpose, the teacher can grade the materials and thus judge the capacity of a child for a certain kind of activity at a given stage of his development.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 153
We do not aim at making a reform in the manner of writing. This would be completely foreign to our goal. We only wish to facilitate writing, no matter what kind it may be.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 211
The most favourable age for the development of written language is that of childhood, about the age of four, when the natural processes connected with the development of speech are fully activated, that is, during the sensitive period (see The Secret of Childhood), when speech naturally develops and becomes fixed.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 258
To become acquainted with the material, a teacher should not just look at it, study it in a book, or learn its use through the explanations of another. Rather, she must exercise herself with it for a long time, trying in this way to evaluate through her own experience the difficulties of, or the interests inherent in, each piece of material that can be given to a child, trying to interpret, although imperfectly, the impressions which a child himself can get from it.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 152
A teacher who is urged on by a profound reverence for life, while she is making her interesting observations, should respect the gradual unfolding of a child's life.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 63
The life of a child is not an abstraction; it is something that is lived by each one in particular. There is only one real biological manifestation, that of the living individual; and education, that is, the active assistance required for the normal expansion of life, should be directed towards these individuals as they are observed one by one. A child has a body which grows and a mind which develops. Both his physiological and psychic development have a single source, life. We should not corrupt or suffocate his mysterious potentialities but wait for their successive manifestations.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 63
Repetition is the secret to perfection, and this is why the exercises are connected with the common activities of daily life. If a child does not set a table for a group of people who are really going to eat, if he does not have real brushes for cleaning, and real carpets to sweep whenever they are used, if he does not himself have to wash and dry dishes and glasses he will never attain any real ability. And if he does not live a social life based on proper education. He will never attain that graceful naturalness which is so attractive in our children.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 94
Every external object and still more every external activity which hinders that frail and hidden impulse which, even though it is still unknown, acts as a guide to a child will be an obstacle. A teacher can therefore become a child's main obstacle, since her activities are more unconscious and energetic than his. A teacher, after she has shown the sensorial stimuli to the children and taught them their use, should seek to withdraw herself from the environment to which they are exposed. A child is urged on to act by his own interior drives and no longer by the teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 99
The new education does not consist in merely providing means for the development of individual actions, but also in giving a child the freedom of disposing of these actions himself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 96
...a child should be left free to choose the objects he wishes. The more the obstacles that stand between a child and the object to which his soul unconsciously aspires are eliminated, the better it will be for the child.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 99
The first idea that a child must acquire on order to be actively disciplined is the difference between right and wrong; and it is the duty of the instructor to prevent the child's confusing immobility with good, and activity with evil, as happened with the old kind of discipline. It is our object to train the child for activity, for work, for doing good, and not for immobility or passivity.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 56
From his scientific training, a teacher should acquire not only an ability but also an interest in observing natural phenomena. In our system he should be much more passive then active, and his passivity should be compounded of an anxious scientific curiosity and a respect for the phenomena which he wishes to observe. It is imperative that a teacher understand and appreciate his position as an observer.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 51
Everything must be taught, and everything must be connected with life; but this does not mean that the actions which children have learned to perform and to integrate with their practical lives should be suppressed or directed by us in every detail. This integration of his actions is one of the highest efforts that a child can make.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 95
Nevertheless the exercises of practical life cannot be regarded as a simple kind of gymnastics; they are “work”. But the work is refreshing and not tiring because of the interest which one takes in all his movements.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 83
When we speak of “environment” we include the sum total of objects which a child can freely choose and use as he pleases, that is to say, according to his needs and tendencies. A teacher simply assists him at the beginning to get his bearings among so many different things and teaches him the precise use of each of them, that is to say, she introduces him to the ordered and active life of the environment. But then she leaves him free in the choice and execution of his work.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 65
This system in which a child is constantly moving object; with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child's special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 279
The reactions of children to various objects, the way in which, and the frequency with which, they used them, and the advantages which they derived from them, all gradually built up reliable criteria for the elimination, modification, and acceptance of apparatus to be used in our schools. Everything about these various objects – colour, size, shape and so forth were all determined by experience.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 101
There is therefore a formative period in which the actions have no external scope or application. We find analogous facts connected with the attainment of speech when a child for a long time repeats sounds, syllables, or words without actually speaking, much less applying the words to external objects.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 99
How he is to use what he has learned is a task for his own conscience, an exercise of his own responsibility. He is thus freed from the greatest of all dangers, that of making an adult responsible for his actions, of condemning his own conscience to a kind of idle slumber.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 96
Exercises in keeping their balance and in analysing their various movements helps the children to perfect all their acts. They force a child to use his organs of balance and accustom him to pay attention to his every move. Exercises in practical living alert a child to the many actions he carries out during the day. The two assist each other: analysis helps synthesis and its practical results, and vice versa.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 94
A child is constantly inspecting his surroundings, his “house”; and when a chair is out of place, making the room look disorderly, we can be certain that it will be the smallest children who will notice it. Before a child reaches the age of three, the highest form of work and the most ennobling that engages him is that of arranging furniture and putting things in order, and it is also the one that calls for the greatest activity.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 84
The objects that are used for practical life ...are objects used where a child lives and which he sees employed in his own home, but they are especially made to a size that he can use.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 84
Work for a child must possess some variety within itself. A child does not have to know the reasons for sowing or reaping to have his interest aroused. He will readily undertake very simple actions which have an immediate end or which permit him to use some special effort. He will for example, gladly pluck weeds from paths or furrows, sweep up dried leaves or carry away an old branch. In a word, to have a field of activity and occasion for new experiences bring satisfaction to the animating spirit which prompts a child to make its way in the world.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 76
From a biological point of view, the concept of liberty in the education of very young children should be understood as a condition most favourable to their physiological and psychological development.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 63
Like others I had believed that it was necessary to encourage a child by means of some exterior reward that would flatter his baser sentiments... in order to foster in him a spirit of work and of peace. And I was astonished when I learned that a child who is permitted to educate himself really gives up these lower instincts. I then urged the teachers to cease handing out the ordinary prizes and punishments, which were no longer suited to our children, and to confine themselves to directing them gently in their work.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 61
..the first educational influence upon a child should have as its object the guidance of the child along the way of independence.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 57
It would seem to me that children are very well disciplined indeed when they can all move around in a room in a useful, intelligent, and free fashion without doing anything rude or unmannerly.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 56
Then when she begins to see that it is her duty to distinguish between acts which should be prevented and those which should be observed....
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 52
A child's liberty should have at its limit the interests of the group to which he belongs.... We should therefore prevent a child from doing anything which may offend or hurt others, or which is impolite or unbecoming. But everything else, every act that can be useful in any way whatever, may be expressed. It should not only be permitted but it should be observed by the teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 51
... a teacher is “the catalyst” between a child...and the environment prepared for his education.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 32
No one can be free if he is not independent, therefore, in order to attain this independence, the active manifestations of personal liberty must be guided from earliest infancy.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 57
...an adult should show himself to a child as a loving and enlightened guide assisting him.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 15
A system of education that is based on liberty ought to aim at assisting a child in obtaining it, and should have as its specific aim the freeing of the child from those ties which limit its spontaneous manifestations. Little by little, as a child proceeds along this way, he will freely manifest himself with greater clarity and truth and thus reveal his own proper nature.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 57
...it is not imitation. This may be shown even in the way that the child uses the material: he becomes so attentive to what he is doing and so immersed in his work that he does not notice what is going on about him but continues to work, repeating the same exercise dozens of times over. This exemplifies that phenomena of concentration and the repetition of an exercise which is connected with a child's inner development. No one can concentrate through imitation.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 98
Through practical exercises...the children develop a true “social feeling,” for they are working in the environment of the community in which they live, without concerning themselves as to whether it is for their own, or for the common good.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 97
A child has learned not only to keep silent, but when he should be silent. He has not only learned the various kinds of greetings, but he has also learned which one to use with another child, with his mother or father, with a stranger, or with one who is old and respected. In other words, he must use according to time and circumstances the many things which he has learned perfectly.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 95
It is true that the teacher supervises the children, but there are various things that “call” the children at different ages. Indeed, the brilliancy, the colours, and the beauty of gaily decorated objects are nothing more than “voices” which attract the attention of a child and encourage him to act. These objects possess an eloquence that no teacher could ever attain. “Take me” they say, “keep me unharmed, and put me back in my place,” and a child's action carried out in response to this invitation gives him that lively satisfaction and that awakening of energy which predispose him to the more difficult task of developing his intellect.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 85
Children as a rule have different desires at any particular moment, and one keeps busy at one thing and another at another without quarrelling. In this way they are engaged in an admirable social life full of activity. In peaceful delight the children solve by themselves the various social problems which their free and many-sided activities create from time to time. An educational influence is diffused throughout the whole environment, and both children and teacher have a role to play in it.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 65
Starting from this state of order, the movements of the children daily become more perfect and coordinated. They learn to reflect upon their own actions.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 56
In our system we obviously have a different concept of discipline. The discipline that we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent as a mute and as motionless.... Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 51
...when we speak of the freedom of a small child, we do not mean to countenance the external disorderly actions which children left to themselves engage in as a relief from their aimless activity, but we understand by this the freeing of his life from the obstacles which can impede his normal development.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 63
The most pleasant work for children is not sowing but reaping, a work, we all know, that is no less exacting then the former. It may even be said that it is the harvest which intensifies an interest in sowing. The more one has reaped, the more he experiences the secret fascination of sowing.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 74
In our system we obviously have a different concept of discipline. The discipline that we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent... Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated. We claim that an individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 51
An observer obviously needs something to observe and he must be trained in order to be able to see and recognise objective truth, he must also have at his disposal children placed in such an environment that they can manifest their natural traits.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 48
We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs in a way that is clearly understood, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of education for independence.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 58
The life of a child is not an abstraction; it is something that is lived by each one in particular. There is only one real biological manifestation, that of the living individual; and education, that is, the active assistance required for the normal expansion of life, should be directed towards these individuals as they are observed one by one.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 63
This system in which a child is constantly moving objects with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child's special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They can thus carryout an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 279
The educator must be as one inspired by a deep worship of life, and must, through this reverence, respect, while he observes with human interest, the development of the child life...There exists only one real biological manifestation: the living individual; and toward single individuals, one by one observed, education must direct itself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 104
The school must permit the free, natural manifestations of the child if in the school scientific pedagogy is to be born. This is the essential reform.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 14
Times have changed, and science has made great progress, and so has our work; but our principles have only been confirmed, and along with them our conviction that mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. Foreword
One single idea runs through every complex activity, and this single idea must be sought as the key to any general problem. There is also a secret key to the perfecting of the most varied types of movements. And this key is balance. We have therefore devised a means which can assist small children to secure their most fundamental movement, that it, walking.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 91
A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal material upon which he can work.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 72
A man who acts by himself, who expends his strength on his own actions, conquers himself, increases his strength, and perfects himself. If men of the future are to be strong, they must be independent and free.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 60
Every complex action comprises a series of distinct movements; one act follows the other. The analysis of movements consists in trying to recognise and to carry out exactly these separate and distinct acts.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 88
If we would but think it, the carrying out of a practical life affords an abundance of exercise, and the gymnasium for perfecting one's actions is the very environment in which he lives.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 83
If writing serves to correct, or rather, to direct and perfect the mechanism of speech in the child, reading assists in the development of ideas and language. In brief, writing helps a child physiologically and reading helps him socially.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 231
The grace and dignity of their behaviour and the ease of their movements are the corollaries to what they have gained through their own patient and laborious efforts. In a word they are “self-controlled,”and to the extent that they are thus controlled they are free from the control of others.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 94
The work of education is divided between the teacher and the environment.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 152
When we think about mixed ages, we must make sure we aren't starving children intellectually or physically ... we should not have a supermarket, but just what is essential.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 152
A necessary condition for writing is to have what is called a "firm hand," that is, a hand under the control of the will.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 206
A refined and perfect child is capable of entering upon any path that helps him to advance.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 93
The objects in our system are instead a help to the child himself, he chooses what he wants for his own use, and works with it according to his own needs, tendencies and special interests. In this way, the objects become a means of growth.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 150
Psychological studies have shown that it is necessary to isolate the senses as far as possible if some single quality is to be brought out.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 104
A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 92
The satisfaction which they find in their work has given them a grace and ease like that which comes from music.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 87
A system of education that is based on liberty ought to aim at assisting a child in obtaining it, and should have as its specific aim the freeing of the child from those ties which limit its spontaneous manifestations. Little by little, as a child proceeds along this way, he will freely manifest himself with greater clarity and truth and thus reveal his own proper nature.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 57
That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendour during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open himself to life.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 52
We must not therefore start from any fixed ideas about child psychology but with a programme that will give a child his freedom so that we can deduce a truly scientific child psychology by observing his spontaneous reactions. It may well be that such a programme holds great surprises in store for us.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 22
If a system of education is to rise from a study of the individual student, it will have to come about in this way, that is, from the observations of free children who are watched and studied but not repressed.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 21
Truly there is an urgent need today of reforming the methods of instruction and education, and he who aims at such a renewal in struggling for the regeneration of mankind.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 20
It is imperative that a school allow a child's activities to freely develop.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 11
Before a child reaches the age of three, the highest form of work and the most ennobling that engages him is that of arranging furniture and putting things in order, and it is also the one that calls for the greatest activity.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 85
By a habit of work a child learns how to move his muscles more than he does through ordinary gymnastic exercises.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 83
I therefore began by having school equipment made proportionate to the size of the children that satisfied the need they had of moving about intelligently.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 48
It seemed important to us that the children should be able count up to one hundred and to carry out the exercises connected with this operation, which unites a rational study of the primary numbers with simple reckoning, especially since a rational approach to arithmetic was given rather than a system based on rote memory.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 276
An analysis and economy of movement are bound together: to carry out no superfluous movements in the attainment of a goal is, in brief, the highest degree of perfection. This is the source of aesthetic movements and artistic attitudes.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 89
The importance of the work does not bother children, they are satisfied when they have done as much as they can and see that they are not excluded from an opportunity to exert themselves in their surroundings. The most admired work is that which offers the greatest opportunities to each one.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 86
Children indeed love flowers, but they need to do something more than remain among them and contemplate their coloured blossoms. They find their greatest pleasure in acting, in knowing, in exploring, even apart from the attraction of external beauty.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 74
The strength of even the smallest children is more than we imagine, but it must have a free play in order to reveal itself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 68
The freeing of a child consists in removing as far as possible these obstacles through a close and thorough study of the secret needs of early childhood in order to assist it.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 64
Every child reveals himself, and it is remarkable how clearly individual differences stand out if we follow this procedure.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 57
A teacher is destined by his own special work to observe not simply insects or protozoa but man. And the man he is destined to observe is not one busy about his daily occupations, like those of insects when they wake up in the morning, but man when his intellectual life is awakening.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 9
One of the most important practical aspects of our method has been to make the training of the muscles enter into the very life of the children so that it is intimately connected with their daily activities. Education in movement is thus fully incorporated into the education of the child's personality.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 81
...an individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 51
There is only one basis for observation: the children must be free to express themselves and thus reveal those needs and attitudes which would otherwise remain hidden or repressed in an environment that did not permit them to act spontaneously.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 48
The object of a science of education should be not only to “observe” but also to “transform” children.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 32
...the principle that a teacher must have special training that is not simply intellectual but which also touches the heart... is only a first, if essential, step in the process of awakening the soul of the child. A child's own activities must then find the means that lead to its own development.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 32
He will learn from the child himself the ways and means to his own education, that is he will learn from the child how to perfect himself as a teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 10
We must create in the soul of the teacher a general interest in the manifestation of natural phenomena until he comes to the point where he loves and experiences the anxiety of one who has prepared an experiment and is waiting for new data to appear.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 7
We may define a scientist as one who during the course of an experiment has perceived something that leads to a further investigation of the profound truths of life and has lifted the veil which hid its fascinating secrets, and who, in the pursuit of this knowledge, has felt so passionate a love for the mysteries of nature that he forgets himself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 6
Physiologically we may say that their muscles and nerves are passing through a period where they are learning how to work harmoniously together. Successful passage through this period is of utmost importance for an individual's ultimate perfection.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 87
When children experience pleasure not only from an activity leading towards a special goal but also in carrying it out exactly in all its details, they open up a whole new area of education for themselves. In other words, preference should be given to an education of movement: practical activities are simply an external incentive to the educational process, they provide a motive and urge the child to organise his movements.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 87
If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 58
It is through his muscles that a man can act on the external world and give expression to his thoughts.... The will carries out its desires through these marvellous instruments of motion. The mind must have all these means of expression by means of which its concepts are changed into action and its feelings are carried out in works.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 79
No one can be free unless he is independent. Therefore, the first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 118
A man is not what he is because of the teachers he has had, but because of what he has done.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 155
We habitually serve children; and this is not only an act of servility toward them, but it is dangerous, since it tends to suffocate their useful, spontaneous activity.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 59
The liberty of the child should have as its limit the collective interest.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 86
The lesson must be presented in such a way that the personality of the teacher shall disappear. There shall remain in evidence only the object to which she wishes to call the attention of the child.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 109
But if for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 145
The history of the movement shows that the same kind of education, though with some adaptations, is applicable to all grades of society and to all nations of the world, and it may be used with children from happy homes as well as those who have been terrified by an earthquake or similar disaster. In our day the child has been revealed as the driving force that can bring new hope to people engulfed in darkness.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 42
The educator must be as one inspired by a deep worship of life, and must, through this reverence, respect, while he observes with human interest, the development of the child life....There exists only one real biological manifestation: the living individual; and toward single individuals, one by one observed, education must direct itself.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 104
He has also acquired in a natural way many practical skills. His body is attuned to musical rhythms, and he is ready for gymnastic exercises. Music is no longer a simple stimulus to his efforts, but it becomes an inner guide of his movements, which have become obedient to its rhythms.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 93
Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and therefore the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants and especially of animals. Nothing awakens foresight in a small child, who lives as a rule for the passing moment and without care for the morrow, so much as this.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 73
The concept of liberty which should inspire teaching is, on the other hand, universal: it is the liberation of a life repressed by an infinite number of obstacles which oppose harmonious development, both physical and spiritual.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 11
We, who work for a single goal, are as it were, the members of the same person. Those who come after us will attain further goals, because there were those who believed and worked before them!
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 5
No one who has ever done anything really great or successful has ever done it simply because he was attracted by what we call a “reward” or by fear of what we call a “punishment”.... Every victory and every advance in human progress comes from an inner compulsion.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 17
Times have changed, and science has made great progress, and so has our work; but our principles have only been confirmed, and along with them our conviction that mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. x