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Books by Maria Montessori

Selected Quotes from To Educate the Human Potential

Not only can imagination travel through infinite space, but also through infinite time; we can go backwards through the epochs, and have the vision of the earth as it was, with the creatures that inhabited it.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 10
[An] interesting fact to be observed in the child of six is his need to associate himself with others, not merely for the sake of company, but in some sort of organised activity. He likes to mix with others in a group wherein each has a different status. A leader is chosen, and is obeyed, and a strong group is formed. This is a natural tendency, through which mankind becomes organised.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
Knowledge can best be given when there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child's mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture. But if neglected during this period, frustrated in its vital needs, the mind of the child becomes artificially dull, henceforth to resist imparted knowledge.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorise, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 11
To make it clear whether or not a child has understood, we should see whether he can form a vision of it within the mind, whether he has gone beyond the level of mere understanding.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 10
Since it has been seen to be necessary to give so much to the child, let us give him a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 5
A second side of education at this age concerns the child’s exploration of the moral field, discrimination between good and evil.  He no longer is receptive, absorbing impressions with ease, but wants to understand for himself, not content with accepting mere facts.  As moral activity develops he wants to use his own judgment, which often will be quite different from that of his teachers.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
An inner change has taken place, but nature is quite logical in arousing now in the child not only a hunger for knowledge and understanding, but a claim to mental independence, a desire to distinguish good from evil by his own powers, and to resent limitation by arbitrary authority. In the field of morality, the child now stands in need of his own inner light.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
If during this period of social interest and mental acuteness all possibilities of culture are offered to the child, to widen his outlook and ideas of the world, this organisation will be formed and will develop; the amount of light a child has acquired in the moral field, and the lofty ideals he has formed, will be used for purposes of social organisation at a later stage.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
The task of teaching becomes easy, since we do not need to choose what we shall teach, but should place all before him for the satisfaction of his mental appetite.  He must have absolute freedom of choice, and then he requires nothing but repeated experiences which will become increasingly marked by interest and serious attention, during his acquisition of some desired knowledge.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 5
Education used to concern itself mainly with the separate training of Attention, or the power of reasoning in order to grasp what is taught, and Will, the voluntary effort to learn, and the mind was looked on as superior to the vital instincts, to be impressed and trained from without. Today the mind is thought of as one whole, not as separate mental faculties, and vitally connected with the whole personality; thus modern psychology forms a complement to our method of education.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 19
...by offering the child the story of the universe, we give him something a thousand times more infinite and mysterious to reconstruct with his imagination, a drama no fable can reveal.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 16
[Education]...requires the influence of sacred and deep things to move the spirit, and the new children of civilised humanity must be given a profound emotion and enthusiasm for the holy cause of humanity.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 75
Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period (age 6 to 12) when the seed of everything can be sown, the child's mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
...to give the whole of modern culture has become an impossibility and so a need arises for a special method, whereby all factors of culture may be introduced to the six-year-old; not in a syllabus to be imposed on him, or with exactitude of detail, but in the broadcasting of the maximum number of seeds of interest. These will be held lightly in the mind, but will be capable of later germination, as the will becomes more directive, and thus he becomes an individual suited to these expansive times.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3
Everything is a fruit of a human soul, and we incarnate this harvest in education, this treasury of riches handed on to us by man.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 52
Life alone can say: 'In my service is perfect freedom!' Work as the cosmic expression is ever a necessity of life and a joy; its shirking means extinction, the doom of original disobedience.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 49
…the Cosmic Plan can be presented to the child, as a thrilling tale of the earth we live in….
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 2
What is first wanted is no patrionising charity for humanity, but a revereant consciousness of its dignity and worth.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 26
Not in the service of any political or social creed should the teacher work, but in the service of the complete human being, able to exercise in freedom a self-disciplined will and judgement, unperverted by prejudice and undistorted by fear.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3
The child should love everything that he learns, for his mental and emotional growths are linked. Whatever is presented to him must be made beautiful and clear, striking his imagination. Once this love has been kindled, all problems confronting the educationalist will disappear.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 25
The child must learn by his own individual authority...and not to be questioned in his choice. Our teaching must only answer the mental needs of the child, never dictate them. He must have absolute freedom of choice, and then he requires nothing but repeated experiences.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 7
Obedience is no mechanical thing, but a natural force of social cohesion, intimately related to the will, even its sublimation.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 123
The teacher's task is no small or easy one! He has to prepare a huge amount of knowledge to satisfy the child's mental hunger, and he is not, like the ordinary teacher, limited by a syllabus.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 8
The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 51
It is hoped that when this sentiment of love for all subjects can be aroused in children, people in general will become more human, and brutal wars will come to an end.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 26
...the fundamental principle in education is correlation of all subjects, and their centralisation in the cosmic plan.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 82
The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on the path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 8
If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying. The child’s mind will then no longer wander, but becomes fixed and can work. The knowledge he acquires is organised and systematic; his intelligence becomes whole and complete because of the vision of the whole that has been presented to him, and his interest spreads to all, for all are linked and have their place in the universe on which his mind is centred.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6
We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6
The secret of success is found to lie in the right use of imagination in awakening interest, and the stimulation of seeds of interest already sown by attractive literary and pictorial material, but all correlated to a central idea, of greatly ennobling inspiration – the Cosmic Plan in which all, consciously or unconsciously, serve the Great Purpose of Life.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3