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Montessori Quote of the Day

To celebrate the 150 anniversary of Maria Montessori's birth we will be publishing a daily quote illustrating the profound and lasting inspiration of her work.  Each quote will also be available for download as a poster and a social media graphic.  Click on each quote to access these resources.

We see the figure of the child who stands before us with his arms held open, beckoning humanity to follow.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 119
A teacher must therefore be well acquainted with the material and keep it constantly before her mind. She must acquire a precise knowledge of the techniques that have been experimentally determined for the presentation of the material and for dealing with the child so that he is effectively guided. All this constitutes a major part of the preparation of a teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 151
The child's instinct confirms the fact that work is an inherent tendency in human nature; it is the characteristic instinct of the human race.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 195
Spoken language is like a breath of air which can reach only the ear which happens to be close to it. That is why [human beings], from remotest antiquity onwards, have looked for means to transmit their thoughts over a great distance and to fix their remembrance.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 79
If the adult, through a fatal misunderstanding, instead of helping the child to do things for himself, substitutes himself for the child, then that adult becomes the blindest and most powerful obstacle to the development of the child's psychic life. In this misunderstanding, in the excessive competition between adult work and child work, lies the first great drama of the struggle between man and his work, and perhaps the origin of all the dramas and struggles of mankind.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 208
The child in the postnatal (or psychological) period of his embryonic life, absorbs from the world about him the distinctive patterns to which the social life of his group conforms.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 173
Possession of the art of writing is not a mere skill, it represents the possession of a superior form of language added to its natural form. Written language complements spoken language and is integrated with it. Spoken language is developed naturally in every man.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 79
[T]he little child's need for order is one of the most powerful incentives to dominate his early life.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 173
Among the revelations the child has brought us, there is one of fundamental importance, the phenomenon of normalisation through work. Thousands and thousands of experiences among children of every race enable us to state that this phenomenon is the most certain datum verified in psychology or education. It is certain that the child's attitude towards work represents a vital instinct; for without work his personality cannot organise itself and deviates from the normal lines of its construction.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 195
The phenomenon to be expected from the little child, when he is placed in an environment favourable to his spiritual growth, is this: that suddenly the child will fix his attention upon an object, will use it for the purpose for which it was constructed, and will continue to repeat the same exercise indefinitely. One will repeat an exercise twenty times, another forty times, and yet another two hundred times; but this is the first phenomenon to be expected, as initiatory to those acts with which spiritual growth is bound up.
When work has become a habit, the intellectual level rises rapidly, and organised order causes good conduct to become a habit. Children then work with order, perseverance, and discipline, persistently and naturally; the permanent, calm and vivifying work of the physical organism resembles the respiratory rhythm.
All work is noble, the only ignoble thing is to live without working.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65
In her duty of guiding a child in using the material, a teacher must make a distinction between two different periods. In the first she puts the child in contact with the material and initiates him in its use. In the second she intervenes to enlighten a child who has already succeeded in distinguishing differences through his own spontaneous efforts. It is then that she can determine the ideas acquired by a child, if this is necessary, and provide him with words to describe the differences he has perceived.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 153
When a teacher has a child see and touch the letters of the alphabet, three sensations come into play simultaneously: sight, touch, and kinaesthetic (muscular) sensation. This is why the image of the graphic symbol is fixed in the mind much more quickly than when it is acquired through sight in the ordinary methods.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 213
It is through exercise that the child grows; his constructive activity is a real work which flows materially from his outer environment. The child in his experiences exercises himself and moves; he thus learns to co-ordinate his movements and absorbs from the outer world the emotions that give concreteness to his intelligence.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 201
But when through exceptional circumstances work is the result of an inner, instinctive impulse, then even in the adult it assumes a wholly different character... Such is the work of the inventor or discoverer, the heroic efforts of the explorer, or the compositions of the artist, that is to say, the work of [those] gifted with such an extraordinary power as to enable them to rediscover the instinct of their species in the patterns of their own individuality. This instinct is then a fountain that bursts through the hard outer crust and rises, through a profound urge, to fall, as refreshing rain, on arid humanity. It is through this urge that the true progress of civilisation takes place.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 196
Psychologists who have studied children's growth from birth to University age maintain that this can be divided into various and distinct periods.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 17
The teacher must undertake a twofold study: she must have a good knowledge of the work she is expected to do and of the function of the material, that is, of the means of a child's development. It is difficult to prepare such a teacher theoretically. She must fashion herself, she must learn how to observe, how to be calm, patient, and humble, how to restrain her own impulses, and how to carry out her eminently practical tasks with the required delicacy. She too has greater need of a gymnasium for her soul than of a book for her intellect.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 151
The teacher...must be able to make prudent observations, to assist a child by going up to, or withdrawing from, him, and by speaking or keeping silence in accordance with his needs. She must acquire a moral alertness which has not hitherto been demanded by any other system, and this is revealed in her tranquility, patience, charity, and humility. Not words, but virtues, are her main qualifications.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 151
There can be no doubt of the fact that a child absorbs an enormous number of impressions from his environment and that external help given to this natural instinct kindles within him a lively enthusiasm. In this way education can be a real help to the natural development of the mind.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 261
She must learn that it is not easy to help, nor even, perhaps, to stand still and watch. Even when helping and serving the children, she must not cease to observe them, because the birth of concentration in a child is as delicate a phenomenon as the bursting of a bud into bloom. But she will not be watching with the aim of making her presence felt, or of helping the weaker ones by her own strength. She observes in order to recognise the child who has attained the power to concentrate and to admire the glorious rebirth of his spirit.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 248
A teacher must busy herself with finding more and more new names to satisfy the insatiable demands of her young charges. This craving which is manifested in their writing is certainly natural. Between the ages of three and five a child's vocabulary grows spontaneously from three hundred to three thousand or more words.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 261
Only after a child has begun to write on his own should a teacher intervene to guide his progress in writing.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 225
[A] child of four is still in a formative period of language. He is living in a sensitive period of his own psychic development. All the marvellous phenomena that we witness in this area will only be understood if we admit that such a child is passing through a creative period of intense vital activity and is building up the language he must use as [an adult].
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 219
Writing is a complex act which needs to be analysed. One part of it has reference to motor mechanisms and the other represents a real and proper effort of the intellect.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 204
Writing is not identical with the alphabet. Writing consists of a series of attempts to transmit thought in a practical and permanent way. Its history goes back to thousands of years ago. At first, man tried to represent the objects of his thoughts by means of drawings; then he tried to symbolise ideas by signs, and only much later has he found a simple solution in the alphabet.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 85
The teacher keeps watch so that a child who is absorbed in his work is not disturbed by one of his companions. This office of being the ‘guardian angel’ of minds concentrated on work that will improve them is one of the most solemn duties of the teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 153
The teacher becomes the keeper and custodian of the environment. She attends to this instead of being distracted by the children's restlessness. From this will come healing, and the attraction that captures and polarises the child's will.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 252
Education between the ages of six to twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, though it is built upon that basis. Psychologically there is a decided change in personality, and we recognise that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of the environment.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3
We are confronted with a considerable development of consciousness that has already taken place, but now that consciousness is thrown outwards with a special direction, intelligence being extroverted, and there is an unusual demand on the part of the child to know the reasons for things.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3
When the child is attentive to his great work, he must respect the fact and not disturb him with either praise or correction.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 64
Now the little child who manifests perseverance in his work as the first constructive act of his psychical life, and upon this act builds up internal order, equilibrium, and the growth of personality, demonstrates, almost as in a splendid revelation, the true manner in which man renders himself valuable to the community.
Psychologists interested in adolescent education think of it as a period of so much psychic transformation that it bears comparison with the first period from birth to six.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 19
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
Our experience with children in elementary schools has shown us that the age between six and twelve years is a period of life during which the elements of all sciences should be given. It is a period that, psychologically, is especially sensitive and might be called the "sensitive period of culture" during which the abstract plane of the human mind is organised.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 85
The little child’s first movements were instinctive. Now, he acts consciously and voluntarily, and with this comes an awakening of his spirit…. Conscious will is a power which develops with use and activity. We must aim at cultivating the will…. Its development is a slow process that evolves through a continuous activity in relationship with the environment.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 231
Thus it happens that at the age of three, life seems to begin again; for now consciousness shines forth in all its fullness and glory.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 151
Independence is not a static condition; it is a continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength, and the perfecting on one’s powers, it is necessary to follow this path of unremitting toil.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 90
...the teacher must know and experience in her daily life the secret of childhood. Through this she arrives not only at a deeper knowledge, but at a new kind of love which does not become attached to the individual person.... And this revelation transforms her also. It is a thing that touches the heart, and little by little it changes people.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 258
The duty of the teacher is only to present new things when she knows that a child has exhausted all the possibilities of those he was using before.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 256
The teacher, in this first period, before concentration has shown itself, must be like the flame which heartens all by its warmth, enlivens and invites.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 254
The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 252
The didactic material must be always beautiful, shining and in good repair, with nothing missing, so that it looks new to the child, and is complete and ready for use.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 68
An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices. The first step is self-preparation of the imagination, for the Montessori teacher has to visualise a child who is not yet there, materially speaking, and must have faith in the child who will reveal himself through work.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 67
It is not that the Montessori teacher is inactive where the usual teacher is active; rather all the activities we have described are due to active preparation and guidance of the teacher, and her later "inactivity" is a sign of her success, representing the task successfully accomplished.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 67
To her falls the task of guiding the development of the child's spirit, and therefore her observations of the child are not limited solely to understanding him. All her observations must emerge at the end - and this is their only justification - in her ability to help the child.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 64
In our schools the environment itself teaches the children. The teacher only puts the child in direct contact with the environment, showing him how to use various things.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 64
Our goal is not so much the imparting of knowledge as the unveiling and developing of spiritual energy.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 63
The scientific laboratory, the field of Nature where the teacher will be initiated into ‘the observation of the phenomena of the inner life,’ should be the school in which free children develop with the help of material designed to bring about development. ...she feels herself aflame with interest, ‘seeing’ the spiritual phenomena of the child, and experiences a serene joy and an insatiable eagerness in observing them....
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
Thus we would use a kind of gymnastics to prepare the mechanisms of the hand. This preparation can be compared, in view of its goal, to the other, intellectual preparation for writing, achieved by means of the movable alphabet. The mind and the hand are prepared separately for the conquest of written language and follow different roads to the same goal.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 92
The exercises with the movable alphabet place the whole language in motion. They provoke a real intellectual activity...These continuous exercises, therefore, by means of which both spoken and written words are built up, do not only prepare the way for writing, but for correct spelling as well.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 90
Our experiment, begun in Rome in 1907 with children between 3 and 6 years of age, was, I believe, the first and only example of an attempt to teach writing by directly connecting the graphic signs of the alphabet with the spoken language without the use of books. The marvellous and unexpected result was that writing came "as an explosion" and began at once with whole words which flowed incessantly from the mind of the child.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 86
Written language can be acquired much more easily by children of four years than by those of six years of age.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 81
Observation of the work of others becomes increasingly frequent, as if it were a spontaneous "comparative" study between the child himself and his companions; or as if an active interest in the contemplation of the external surroundings were developing: the period of discovery. We may say that the child studies himself in his own productions and puts himself into communion with his companions and his environment.
... she had been absorbed in concentration such that her ego had withdrawn itself from reach of any external stimulus. That concentration was accompanied by the rhythmic movement of the hands, evoked by an accurately made, scientifically graduated object.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 125
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
The human personality forms itself by itself, like the embryo, and the child becomes the creator of the man, the father of the man.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 31
The child strives to assimilate his environment and from such efforts springs the deep-seated unity of his personality.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 31
Blessed are the teachers who have brought their class to the stage where they can say, "Whether I am present or not, the class carries on. The group has achieved independence." To arrive at this mark of success, there is a path to follow for the teacher's development.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 67
But the child too is a worker and a producer. If he cannot take part in the adult's work, he has his own, a great, important, difficult work indeed - the work of producing man.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 200
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
In serving the child, one serves life; in helping nature one rises to the next stage, that of super-nature, for to go upward is a law of life. And it is the children who have made this beautiful staircase that mounts ever higher.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 259
The child does not want to be told what to do or how to do it - he defends himself from such help. Choice and execution are the prerogatives and conquests of a liberated soul. But after he has done the work, he wants his teacher's approval.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 250
Before such attention and concentration have been attained, the teacher must learn to control herself so that the child's spirit shall be free to expand and show its powers; the essence of her duty is not to interrupt the child in his efforts.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 248
Praise, help, or even a look, may be enough to interrupt him, or destroy the activity. It seems a strange thing to say, but this can happen even if the child merely becomes aware of being watched. After all, we too sometimes feel unable to go on working if someone comes to see what we are doing. The great principle which brings success to the teacher is this: as soon as concentration has begun, act as if the child does not exist. Naturally, one can see what he is doing with a quick glance, but without his being aware of it.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 255
The child whose attention has once been held by a chosen object, while he concentrates his whole self on the repetition of the exercise, is a delivered soul in the sense of the spiritual safety of which we speak. From this moment there is no need to worry about him - except to prepare an environment which satisfies his needs, and to remove obstacles which may bar his way to perfection.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 248
In this period she must take care never to turn her back on the class while she is dealing with a single child. Her presence must be felt by all these spirits, wandering and in search of life. These lessons, exact and fascinating, given in an intimate way to each child separately, are the teacher's offering to the depths of the child's soul.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 247
Let us always remember that inner discipline is something to come, and not something already present. Our task is to show the way to discipline. Discipline is born when the child concentrates his attention on some object that attracts him and which provides him not only with a useful exercise but with a control of error. Thanks to these exercises, a wonderful integration takes place in the infant soul, as a result of which the child becomes calm, radiantly happy, busy, forgetful of himself and, in consequence, indifferent to prizes or material, rewards. These little conquerors of themselves and of the world about them are real supermen, who show us the divine worth of man's soul.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 240
Our teachers thus penetrate the secret of childhood, and have a knowledge far superior to that of the ordinary teacher who becomes acquainted only with the superficial facts of the children's lives. Knowing the child's secret, she had a deep love for him, perhaps for the first time understanding what love really is.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 69
We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit. It is the teacher's joy to welcome the manifestations of the spirit answering her faith. Here is the child as he should be: the worker who never tires, the calm child who seeks the maximum of effort, who tries to help the weak while knowing how to respect the independence of others, in reality, the true child.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 69
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
To put writing in its real and simple aspects, i.e. to connect it directly with the spoken language, is already in itself a practical step forward and this can be applied to children as well as to adults. Writing thus becomes a form of self-expression and awakens an activity, heightened by the enthusiasm engendered by real interest, evident achievement, and the acquisition of a new power.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 86
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
Here then is the essential principle of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 94
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
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
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
…economic independence...would result in a "valorization" of his personality, in making him feel himself capable of succeeding in life by his own efforts and on his own merits, and at the same time it would put him in direct contact with the supreme reality of social life. We speak therefore of letting him earn money by his own work.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65
The school where the children live, or rather their country homes, can also give them the opportunity for social experience, for it is an institution organised on a larger scale and with greater freedom than the family.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 69
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
The most pertinent, which seemed like a magic touch opening the gates to an expansion of normal characteristics, is a consistent activity concentrated on a single work, an exercise on some external object, where the movements of the hands are guided by the mind. And here we find the unfolding of characteristics which plainly come from an inner impulse, like the "repetition of the exercise" and "free choice of objects". It is then that the true child appears, aglow with joy, indefatigable because his activity is like the psychic metabolism to which life and hence development is attached.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 146
Thus the earliest traces of man's life on earth are not his homes or houses, bones or remains, but the implements of his work. It may be said that man in his capacity as worker is responsible for all that is meant by evolution, progress or civilisation.
Maria Montessori
What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 138
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 great hope for education is to help the little young humanity which is in our hands.
Maria Montessori
The Child, Society and the World, p. 81
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
Here is the aim of the truly new education; first of all to discover the child and effect his liberation.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 106
The vision of the teacher should be at once precise like that of the scientist, and spiritual like that of the saint. The preparation for science and the preparation for sanctity should form a new soul, for the attitude of the teacher should be at once positive, scientific and spiritual.
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 hand too, therefore, needs its own preparation. What is needed before one actually writes is to learn writing by means of a series of interesting exercises which form a kind of gymnastics similar to those used to give agility to the muscles of the body.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 91
Possession of the art of writing is not a mere skill, it represents the possession of a superior form of language added to its natural form. Written language complements spoken language and is integrated with it. Spoken language is developed naturally in every [person]... Language is one the characteristics which distinguish [humans] from the animals. It is a gift of nature bestowed on him alone. It is an expression of his intelligence.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 79
It was about six months later that they began to understand what reading meant, and they did so only through associating it with writing. Their eyes followed my hand as it traced the signs on paper, and they grasped the idea that thus I was expressing my thoughts as if I were speaking.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 140
One day a child began to write. He was so astonished that he shouted aloud, "I've written! I've written!" Other children rushed up to him, full of interest, staring at the words that their play-fellow had traced on the ground with a piece of white chalk... The discovery of being able write appeared as an unexpected event.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 139
With the profound interest of one who has made a discovery, he had understood that each of these sounds corresponded to a letter of the alphabet. Indeed, what is alphabetical writing, if not the correspondence of a sign with a sound?
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 138
This means that it is not enough to set the child among objects in proportion to his size and strength; the adult who is to help him must have learned how to do so.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 208
Now what we need to know is the character of the child's work. When a little child works he does not do so to attain an outward end. The aim of his work is the working, and when in his repetition of an exercise he brings it to an end, this end is independent of external factors... his work is the satisfaction of an inner need, a phenomenon of psychic maturation.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 204
But the child too is a worker and a producer. If he cannot take part in the adult's work, he has his own, a great, important, difficult work indeed - the work of producing [an adult].
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 200
Among the revelations the child has brought us, there is one of fundamental importance, the phenomenon of normalisation through work.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 195
But in our specially prepared environments we see them all at once fix themselves upon some task, and then their excited fantasies and their restless movements disappear altogether; a calm, serene child, attached to reality, begins to work out his elevation through work. Normalisation has been achieved.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 162
Nature conditions the child otherwise than the young of animals. She leaves the realm of movement free from the imperious despotism of instinct. Instinct withdraws; the muscles wait, strong and obedient, for a new order; they await the command of the will to co-ordinate them in the service of the human spirit. They must express the characteristics not of a mere species, but of an individual soul.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 29
Now the little child who manifests perseverance in his work as the first constructive act of his psychical life, and upon this act builds up internal order, equilibrium, and the growth of personality, demonstrates, almost as in a splendid revelation, the true manner in which [an adult] renders himself valuable to the community.
But the child who chooses the objects and perseveres in their use with the utmost intensity of attention, as shown in the muscular contractions which give mimetic expression to his face, evidently experiences pleasure, and pleasure is an indication of healthy functional activity; it always accompanies exercises which are useful to the organs of the body.
The phenomenon to be expected from the little child, when he is placed in an environment favourable to his spiritual growth, is this: that suddenly the child will fix his attention upon an object, will use it for the purpose for which it was constructed, and will continue to repeat the same exercise indefinitely. One will repeat an exercise twenty times, another forty times, and yet another two hundred times; but this is the first phenomenon to be expected, as initiatory to those acts with which spiritual growth is bound up.
When work has become a habit, the intellectual level rises rapidly, and organised order causes good conduct to become a habit. Children then work with order, perseverance, and discipline, persistently and naturally; the permanent, calm and vivifying work of the physical organism resembles the respiratory rhythm.
These children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying: “Help me to do it alone!”
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65
Education should... include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilised existence.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65
The child of this age sets out to do a certain task, perhaps an absurd one to adult reasoning, but this matters not at all; he must carry out the activity to its conclusion. There is a vital urge to completeness of action, and if the cycle of this urge is broken, it shows in deviations from normality and lack of purpose. Much importance attaches now to this cycle of activity, which is an indirect preparation for future life.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 45
The sensory education which prepares for the accurate perception of all the differential details in the qualities of things, is therefore the foundation of the observation of things and of phenomena which present themselves to our sense; and with this it helps us to collect from the external world the material for imagination.
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
(in response to a baby being brought into the classroom) At once the children sat still, controlling even their breathing, and so they remained, with the serene, intense look of those engaged in meditation. Little by little in that impressive silence little noises were heard, a drop of water falling in the distance, the far-off twitter of a bird. This incident was the origin of the silence exercise.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 130
They repeated the performance again and again without having any longer an external aim in doing so. It was by an inner need that they went on washing their hands that were already clean. The same thing happened on many other occasions; the more accurately an exercise was taught in all its details, the more it seemed to become a stimulus to an endless repetition of the same exercise.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 126
...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
Thus by preparing an open environment, an environment suited to this moment of life, natural manifestation of the child's psyche and hence the revelation of his secret should come about spontaneously.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 106
The true educator is the man who rids himself of the inner obstacles which make the child incomprehensible to him; he is not simply the man who is ever striving to become better. Our instruction to educators consists in showing them what inner dispositions they need to correct...
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 107
In the psychological realm of relationship between teacher and child, the teacher's part and its techniques are analogous to those of the valet; they are to serve, and to serve well: to serve the spirit.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 256
The child has to acquire physical independence by being self-sufficient; he must become of independent will by using in freedom his own power of choice; he must become capable of independent thought by working alone without interruption. The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practised to perfection only when working among children.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 257
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
Happiness is not the whole aim of education. A man must be independent in his powers and character; able to work and assert his mastery over all that depends on him.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 170
Growth and psychic development are therefore guided by: the absorbent mind, the nebulae and the sensitive periods, with their respective mechanisms. It is these that are hereditary and characteristic of the human species. But the promise they hold can only be fulfilled through the experience of free activity conducted in the environment.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 96
We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 91
The child’s conquest of independence begins with his first introduction to life. While he is developing, he perfects himself and overcomes every obstacle that he finds in his path. A vital force is active within him, and this guides his efforts towards their goal. It is a force called the ‘horme’.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 83
Behold a child of three years old capable of repeating the same exercise fifty times in succession; many persons are moving about beside him; some one is playing the piano; children are singing in chorus; but nothing distracts the little child from his profound concentration.
Learning to speak, therefore, and the power it brings of intelligent converse with others, is a most impressive further step along the path of independence … Learning to walk is especially significant, not only because it is supremely complex, but because it is done in the first year of life.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 86
… the first thing his education demands is the provision of an environment in which he can develop the powers given him by nature. This does not mean just to amuse him and let him do what he likes. But it does mean that we have to adjust our minds to doing a work of collaboration with nature, to being obedient to one of her laws, the law which decrees that development comes from environmental experience.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 89
Others, as a result of careful study, have come to the conclusion that the first two years are the most important in the whole span of human life.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 4
All that we ourselves are has been made by the child, by the child we were in the first two years of our lives.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 6
We then found that individual activity is the one factor that stimulates and produces development, and that this is not more true for the little ones of preschool age than it is for the junior, middle, and upper school children.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 7
All the social and moral habits that shape a man's personality...are formed during infancy, in virtue of that mysterious mental power that psychologists have called "Mneme".
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 59
Once the child can speak, he can express himself and no longer depends on others to guess his needs. He finds himself in touch with human society, for people can only communicate by means of language.... Very soon afterward, at one year of age, the child begins to walk.... So man develops by stages, and the freedom he enjoys comes from these steps towards independence taken in turn... Truly it is nature which affords the child the opportunity to grow; it is nature which bestows independence upon him and guides him to success in achieving his freedom.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 78
It is after this that the child, who can now walk and feels confident of his strength, begins to notice the actions of those about him, and tries to do the same things. In this period he imitates not because someone has told him to do so, but because of a deep inner need which he feels.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 143
This kind of activity (climbing, carrying etc), which serves no external purpose, gives children the practice they need for co-ordinating their movements. ...all the child does is to obey an inner impulse.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 148
The mind takes some time to develop interest, to be set in motion, to get warmed up into a subject, to attain a state of profitable work. If at this time there is interruption, not only is a period of profitable work lost, but the interruption, produces an unpleasant sensation which is identical to fatigue.
Maria Montessori
What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 135
Being active with one's own hands, having a determined practical aim to reach, is what really gives inner discipline. When the hand perfects itself in a work chosen spontaneously and the will to succeed is born together with the will to overcome difficulties or obstacles; it is then that something which differs from intellectual learning arises. The realisation of one's own value is born in the consciousness.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 87
The baby is next endowed with an urge, or need, to face the outside world and to absorb it.... By absorbing what he finds about him, he forms his own personality.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 84
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 thus a secret in the soul of the child, impossible to penetrate unless he himself reveals it as little by little he builds up his being.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 16
There are harsh and insistent changes that summon the unconscious to the consciousness; all spiritual development is an achievement of consciousness, which assumes into itself what was once outside it. It is thus, indeed, that civilisation advances, by successive discoveries.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 10
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
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
But, above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of adulthood and becomes a member of society.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 60
If puberty is on the physical side a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child who has to live in a family, to the adult who has to live in society. These two needs of the adolescent: for protection during the time of the difficult physical transition, and for an understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as an adult.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 60
The chief symptom of adolescence is a state of expectation, a tendency towards creative work and a need for the strengthening of self-confidence.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 63
Productive work and a wage that gives economic independence, or rather constitutes a first real attempt to achieve economic independence, could be made with advantage a general principle of social education for adolescents and young people.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 66
Independence, in the case of the adolescents, has to be acquired on a different plane, for theirs is the economic independence in the field of society. Here, too, the principle of "Help me to do it alone!" ought to be applied.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 67
The essential reform of our plan from this point of view may be defined as follows: during the difficult time of adolescence it is helpful to leave the accustomed environment of the family in the town and go to quiet surroundings in the country, close to nature. Here, an open-air life, individual care, and a non-toxic diet, must be the first considerations in organising a "centre for study and work."
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 67
Therefore work on the land is an introduction both to nature and to civilisation and gives a limitless field for scientific and historic studies. If the produce can be used commercially this brings in the fundamental mechanism of society, that of production and exchange, on which economic life is based. This means that there is an opportunity to learn both academically and through actual experience what are the elements of social life. We have called these children the "Erdkinder" because they are learning about civilisation through its origin in agriculture. They are the "land-children."
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 68
The adolescent must never be treated as a child, for that is a stage of life that he has surpassed. It is better to treat an adolescent as if he had greater value than he actually shows than as if he had less and let him feel that his merits and self-respect are disregarded.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 72
The third period goes from twelve to eighteen, and it is a period of so much change as to remind one of the first. It can again be divided into two subphases: one from twelve to fifteen, and the other from fifteen to eighteen. There are physical changes also during this period, the body reaching its full maturity.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 18
Successive levels of education must correspond to the successive personalities of the child. Our methods are oriented not to any pre-established principles but rather to the inherent characteristics of the different ages. It follows that these characteristics themselves include several levels.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 1
Education, therefore, of little ones is important, especially from three to six years of age, because this is the embryonic period for the formation of character and of society (just as the period from birth to three is that for forming the mind, and the prenatal period that for forming the body).
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 221
If "the formation of man" becomes the basis of education, then the coordination of all schools from infancy to maturity, from nursery to university, arises as a first necessity: for man is a unity, an individuality that passes through interdependent phases of development. Each preceding phase prepares the one that follows, forms its base, nurtures the energies that urge towards the succeeding period of life.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 84
During this period the personality undergoes great changes. We have only to compare the newborn babe with the six year old to see this.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 18
...the child’s nature is to aim directly and energetically at functional independence.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 83
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
To serve the children is to feel one is serving the spirit of man, a spirit which has to free itself.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 258
I would not be able to cite a single example of a conversion taking place without an interesting task that concentrated the child's activities. There are wide varieties of conversions that have occurred in this way. Children of a nervous temperament have become calm. The depressed have regained their spirits, and all have advanced together along the path of disciplined work, making progress through the outward manifestation of an inner energy which has found a means of expressions.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 147
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
A teacher said a word rapidly in passing, and on return saw it had been written with moveable letters. For these mites of four, once was enough, though a child of seven requires much repetition before he grasps the word correctly. All this was due to that special period of sensitivity; the mind was like soft wax, susceptible at this age to impressions which could not be taken in at a later stage, when this special malleability would have disappeared.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 5
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
Education should not limit itself to seeking new methods for a mostly arid transmission of knowledge: its aim must be to give the necessary aid to human development.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 84
Order and discipline must be aimed at the attainment of human harmony, and any act that hinders the establishment of a genuine community of all mankind must be regarded as immoral and a threat to the life of society.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. xiii
The adult, the child, and the environment are a trinity. They should be considered as one.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 213
I will not extinguish any fire, any greatness, any enthusiasm. On the contrary, I wish to illuminate the whole of instruction so that every little particle of knowledge is received with understanding and enthusiasm.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 191
The principal message we have sought to preach is the need to construct an environment. This is not a materialistic notion; it has a solid foundation in man’s soul, for it takes into account something hidden deep within it. This social environment for the child must serve to protect him not in his weakness but in his inherent grandeur, for he possesses enormous potential energies that promise to benefit all mankind.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 73
...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
So in order to achieve the marvel of humanity, you must look at the mysterious construction of the child.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 67
It is obvious that man is born to work both with his hands and with his mind. This makes man the creator unique, and his hands and his mind must do their work together in functional unity.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 96
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
The objects surrounding the child should look solid and attractive to him, and the house of the child should be lovely and pleasant in its particulars; for beauty in the school invites activity and work.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 43
In the mysterious period which follows immediately after birth, the child -who is a psychic entity endowed with a specially refined form of sensitiveness - might be regarded as an ego asleep. But all of a sudden he wakes up and hears delicious music; all his fibers begin to vibrate. The baby might think that no other sound had ever reached his ears, but really it was because his soul was not responsive to other sounds. Only human speech had any power to stir him.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 120
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
It is a mental chemistry that takes place in the child, producing a chemical transformation. These impressions not only penetrate the mind of the child, they form it; they become incarnated, for the child makes his own 'mental flesh' in using the things that are in his environment. We have called this type of mind the 'absorbent mind' and it is difficult for us to conceive the magnitude of its powers.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 14
To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 204
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
...that is, the teacher must learn, not to teach, but rather to observe. This fact not only constitutes a revolution in the form of the school, but is also, I believe, the beginning of a science of education, a positive science. All positive sciences spring from the observation of natural facts.
It is extremely difficult to reform an adult; childhood is the time for reformation and, for this reason, it is so important. Man is formed at this age and... can be helped at this time. This is the great importance of this age: the character of the adult is formed at this time.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 141
So we must have interest first and then work with an intelligent purpose, work which is freely chosen by the individual.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 162
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
If education were to continue along the old lines of mere transmission of knowledge, the problem would be insoluble and there would be no hope for the world. Alone a scientific enquiry into human personality can lead us to salvation...
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 1
...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
In giving freedom and independence to the child, we free a worker who is impelled to act and who cannot live except by his activity, because this is the form of existence of all living beings.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 35
[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
...the tiny child's absorbent mind finds all its nutriment in its surroundings. Here it has to locate itself, and build itself up from what it takes in. Especially at the beginning of life must we, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can. The child, as we have seen, passes through successive phases of development and in each of these his surroundings have an important - though different - part to play. In none have they more importance than immediately after birth.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 88
Growth and psychic development are therefore guided by: the absorbent mind, the nebulae and the sensitive periods with their respective mechanisms. It is these that are hereditary and characteristic of the human species. But the promise they hold can only be fulfilled through the experience of free activity conducted on the environment.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 87
It begins with a knowledge of his surroundings. How does the child assimilate his environment? He does it solely in virtue of one of those characteristics that we now know him to have. This is an intense and specialised sensitiveness in consequence of which the things about him awaken so much interest and so much enthusiasm that they become incorporated in his very existence. The child absorbs these impressions not with his mind but with his life itself.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 22
Not only does he create his language, but he shapes the organs that enable him to frame the words. He has to make the physical basis of every moment, all the elements of our intellect, everything the human being is blessed with.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 22
During this early period, education must be understood as a help to the unfolding of the child's inborn psychic powers.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 4
We then become witnesses to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New Man, who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to his clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to mould the future of mankind.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 8
The study of the child… may have an infinitely wider influence, extending to all human questions. In the mind of the child we may find the key to progress….
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 3
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
This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single centre. Mothers, fathers, politicians: all must combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 15
The children must be attached to the material; if they are attached to the teacher they cannot be independent.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 231
To the young child we give guides to the world and the possibility to explore it through his own free activity; to the older child we must give not the world, but the cosmos and a clear vision of how the cosmic energies act in the creation and maintenance of our globe.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 6
The new-born child does not come into a natural environment, but into the civilised environment of the life of men. It is a “supranatural” environment, built up above and at the expense of nature, through the urge to procure all that will assist the life of man in all its details and make it easier for him to adjust to himself. But what providence has prepared a civilisation to assist the new-born babe, man who must achieve the greatest of all efforts of adjustment, when he passes by birth from one life to another?
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 18
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
...it is the psychology of the child, the life of his soul, that has gradually dictated what might be called a pedagogy and a method of education. If I can be said to have a method of education, it is one based on the psychic development of the normal child.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 73
Now what is it that strikes the imagination? Above all, grandeur and, next, mystery. The imagination is then able to reconstruct the whole when it knows the real detail.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 21
...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
Life in the open air, in the sunshine, and a diet high in nutritional content coming from the produce of neighbouring fields improve the physical health, while the calm surroundings, the silence, the wonders of nature satisfy the need of the adolescent mind for reflection and meditation.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 67
The next period goes from six to twelve. It is a period of growth unaccompanied by other change. The child is calm and happy. Mentally, he is in a state of health, strength and assured stability.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 18
My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding from secondary school to University but of passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity and effort of will.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. Opening
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 the baby has not been able to work in accordance with the guidance of its sensitive period, it has lost its chance of a natural conquest....
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 39
The essential reform is this: to put the adolescent on the road to achieving economic independence. We might call it a "school of experience in the elements of social life.”
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 64
Education should therefore include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilized existence.
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65
A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an inspiration for the child's actions, a kind of open book wherein a child can learn how to direct his own movements. But an adult, if he is to afford proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 93
The adult must find within himself the still unknown error that prevents him from seeing the child as he is.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 11
It may be said that that we acquire knowledge by using our minds; but the child absorbs knowledge directly into his psychic life.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 36
"Do not erase the designs the child makes in the soft wax of his inner life." This is the greatest responsibility for the adult who educates the child who is in the process of constructing himself.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 24
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
When we speak about great social questions and the reform of humanity, we must remember this reality: this [age of about two to three years] is the period of life during which the reform of humanity is in our hands.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 141
The interest that drives spontaneous activity is a truly psychological key.
Maria Montessori
Psychogeometry, p. 5
It is thanks to the hand, the companion of the mind, that civilization has arisen.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 139
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
If to strive to get the means of life and happiness is called “work”, we see that each does not only work for himself, but to maintain balance and order.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 13
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
...all the changes in man’s environment are brought about by his hands.
...if men had only used speech to communicate their thought, if their wisdom had been expressed in words alone, no traces would remain of past generations.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 139
If we are to walk, we must have ground to walk on; after we have learnt to walk, we may learn to jump, dance, etc., but we will still need the ground. Walking is a relation between the individual and the environment. Adaptation must come first. Only after this first adaptation has been made can there be the possibility of flexibility and a variety of creative responses.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 129
...action is connected with sight, for we need to see where we are setting our feet, and when our hands are at work we need to see what they are doing.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 140
What is to be particularly noted in these child conversions is a psychic cure, a return to what is normal. Actually, the normal child is one who is precociously intelligent, who has learned to overcome himself and to live in peace, and who prefers a disciplined task to futile idleness. When we see a child in this light, we would more properly call his 'conversion' a 'normalisation'
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 148
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
So what we call the first level of obedience is that in which the child can obey, but not always. It is a period in which obedience and disobedience seem to be combined.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 237
There is a part of a child's soul that has always been unknown but which must be known. With a spirit of sacrifice and enthusiasm we must go in search like those who travel to foreign lands and tear up mountains in their search for hidden gold. This is what the adults must do who seeks the unknown factor that lies hidden in the depths of a child's soul. This is a labour in which all must share, without distinction of nation, race, or social standing since it means the bringing forth of an indispensable element for the moral progress of mankind.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 10
This is the difference between the old and the new education. We want to help the auto-construction of man at the right time, so that mankind can go forward to something great. Society has built up walls, barriers. These the new education must cast down, revealing the free horizon. The new education is a revolution, but without violence. It is the non-violent revolution. After that, if it triumphs, violent revolution will have become forever impossible.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 196
We must help the child to liberate himself from his defects without making him feel his weakness.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 67
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 teacher should never forget that he is a teacher and that his mission is one of education.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 153
The teacher's skill in not interfering comes with practice, like everything else, but it never comes easily. It means rising to spiritual heights. True spirituality realises that even to help can be a source of pride.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 274
The first thing required of a teacher is that he be rightly disposed for his task.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 149
We had seen that nature prepares indirectly the embryo; she issues no orders until the organs have been prepared for obedience. Character can be built only in the same way. Nothing is gained by mere imitation or forced obedience; there must be inner preparation by which obedience becomes possible, and such preparation is indirect. Very clearly stands out the necessity for a prepared environment for children, and freedom wherein the soul can expand its powers.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 71
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
It is plain that nature exercises a powerful supervision over this awakening, this fulfilment. The aim of the mother's care is higher than purely physiological. Through her affection and her tender care, she awaits the birth of the latent instincts. And for men we might say by analogy that, through delicate care of the new-born babe, we should await the spiritual advent of man.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 24
...at birth all children are alike, and need the same treatment or education during the stage of embryonic growth, of mental incarnation.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 23
Psychically speaking, at birth there is nothing at all—zero! Indeed, not only psychically, for at birth the child is almost paralytic... These great powers of the child... were hitherto hidden under the cloak of motherhood, in the sense that people said that it was the mother who taught her child to talk, walk and speak. But it is not the mother, but the child himself, who spontaneously does these things.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 13
…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
The infant in arms has far greater mental energies than are usually imagined.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 14
It follows that at the beginning of his life the individual can accomplish wonders - without effort and quite unconsciously.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 54
The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 5
The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 4
The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 88
The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development’.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 84
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
The attitude of humility is an element of patience.
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
Children are interested in books when they know how to read. This is so obvious that it seems superfluous to say so.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 95
The written language concerns self-expression. It is a very simple mechanism to be introduced into the personality. It can be analysed part by part and precisely this analysis is of the greatest value.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 86
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 real preparation for education is the study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 132
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
We must be taught and we must be willing to accept guidance if we wish to become effective teachers.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 149
At birth he frees himself from a prison, the mother's body, and achieves independence of the functions of the mother.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 33
The chief characteristic of the human babe is intelligence, unlike the other animals who only need to awaken the instincts towards their behaviour. The human child's intelligence has to take in the present of an evolving life which goes back hundreds of thousands of years in its civilisation, and which has stretching before it a future of hundreds of thousands of millions of years.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 31
Development is a series of rebirths.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 17
The child must see for himself what he can do, and it is important to give him not only the means of education but also to supply him with indicators which tell him his mistakes……The child’s interest in doing better, and his own constant checking and testing, are so important to him that his progress is assured.  His very nature tends toward exactitude and the ways of obtaining it appeal to him.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 229
At about a year and a half, the child discovers another fact, and that is that each thing has its own name.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 113
At one year of age the child says his first intentional word...his babbling has a purpose, and this intention is a proof of conscious intelligence...He becomes ever more aware that language refers to his surroundings, and his wish to master it consciously becomes also greater....Subconsciously and unaided, he strains himself to learn, and this effort makes his success all the more astonishing.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 111
In the first days of life, it is clear that something of the utmost importance is taking place....he has 'potentialities' able to bring about his development, and these do so by making use of the outer world.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 72
Directing our action toward mankind means, first and foremost, doing so with regard to the child. The child, that 'forgotten citizen', must be appreciated in accordance with his true value. His rights as a human being who shapes all of mankind must become sacred, and the secret laws of his normal psychic development must light the way for civilisation.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 38
An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 30
The function of the alphabet has not been taken into consideration in the ordinary method of teaching writing. It is presented only as an analysis of the written language, instead of what in fact it is, the faithful reproduction of the spoken language.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 85
In each sphere there is essential work to be done; the work of the adult and the work of the child are both essential for the life of humanity.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 198
He needs not only to touch things and to work with them, but to follow a sequence of actions to its completion, and this is of the greatest importance in the inward building-up of his personality.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 175
The children find joy, satisfaction and exhilaration in work. More work seems to produce more restfulness. After much energy has been spent in doing work, the very expenditure seems to produce a still larger quantity of energy... Work thus becomes the sine-qua-non of growth, development, efficiency and happiness.
Maria Montessori
What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 136
It is a recognised fact that this is an age of maximum effort, which should be supported, and further that children show an instinct of imitation.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 44
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
And thus the new-born child is not only a body ready to function as a body, but a spiritual embryo with latent psychic capacities. It would be absurd to think that man alone, characterised and distinct from all other creatures by the grandeur of his mental life, should be the only one with no pattern of psychic development.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 16
No one could have foreseen then that the child held within himself a secret of life, able to lift the veil from the mysteries of the human soul, that he represented an unknown quantity, the discovery of which might enable the adult to solve his individual and social problems. This aspect may prove the foundation of a new science of child study, capable of influencing the whole social life of man.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 4
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
The hand too, therefore, needs its own preparation. What is needed before one actually writes is to learn writing by means of a series of interesting exercises which form a kind of gymnastics similar to those used to give agility to the muscles of the body.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 91
Written language, therefore, must not be considered merely as a subject in schools, and a part of culture. It is, rather, a characteristic of civilised man.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 80
The child does not grow weary with work, but increases his strength. He grows through work and that is why work increases his energies. He never asks to be relieved of his labours, but on the contrary he asks to be allowed to perform them and to perform them alone. The task of growth is his life, he must truly either work or die.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 208
The secret of a happy life is congenial work. Work is purposeful activity. Man is the foremost worker in creation. Man's work has changed the face of the earth.
Maria Montessori
What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 134
So the logic of natural development is seen: first the child prepares his instruments, hands and feet, then he gets strength by exercise, and next looks at what other people are doing, and sets to work in imitation, fitting himself for life and freedom.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 43
We must not help the child to walk, and if his hands wants to work, we must give him motives of activity, and leave him to proceed to ever greater conquests of independence.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 42
The feeling we should have towards the new-born baby is not the compassion that we have for the sick or weak, but reverence before the mystery of creation, the secret of an infinite taking bounded form.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 24
In all diseases, physical as well as mental, the importance of events that have occurred in infancy is now recognised.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 4
But the study of the child, not in his physical but in his psychological aspect, may have an infinitely wider influence, extending to all human questions. In the mind of the child we may find the key to progress and who knows, the beginning of a new civilisation.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 3
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
To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child's work and be able to guide it better.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 135
... the environment is fundamental, it must facilitate the expansion of the being in process of development by a reduction of obstacles to a minimum, and must allow free scope for a child's energies, by offering the necessary means for the activities to which they give rise.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 96
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
A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly or a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a child to come into contact with the external world in a particularly intense manner. At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power. Only when the goal has been obtained does fatigue and the weight of indifference come on.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 40
The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work. She must free herself from all preconceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 270
The child who concentrates is immensely happy.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 249
The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 202
Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but live and walk about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning; would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 36
How does he achieve this independence? He does it by means of a continuous activity. How does he become free? By means of constant effort. ...we know that development results from activity. The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 84
An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 207
The child is the spiritual builder of mankind, and obstacles to his free development are the stones in the wall by which the soul of man has become imprisoned.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 201
The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 267
The child has other powers than ours, and the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 34
Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 32
The absorbent mind is indeed a marvellous gift to humanity! By merely 'living' and without and conscious effort the individual absorbs from the environment even a complex cultural achievement like language. If this essential mental form existed in the adult, how much easier would our studies be!
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 64
The concept of an education centred upon the care of the living being alters all previous ideas. Resting no longer on a curriculum, or a timetable, education must conform to the facts of human life.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 12
During this early period, education must be understood as a help to the unfolding of the child's inborn psychic powers. This means that we cannot use the orthodox methods of teaching, which depends on talk.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 4
If salvation and help are to come, it is from the child, for the child is the constructor of man and so of society. The child is endowed with an inner power which can guide us to a more enlightened future.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 1
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
If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 4
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
The essential thing is for the task to arouse such an interest that it engages the child's whole personality.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 188
To develop a language from nothing needs a different type of mentality. This the child has. His intelligence is not of the same kind as ours.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 23
Inner forces affect his choice, and if someone usurps the function of this guide, the child is prevented from developing either his will or his concentration.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 199
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
No social problem is as universal as the oppression of the child.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 3
The child has a different relation to his environment from ours... the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 56
To give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 27
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
He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 25
…the child begins to become conscious of right and wrong, this not only as regards his own actions, but also the actions of others…..moral consciousness is being formed and this leads later to the social sense.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 177
So, from the age of three till six, being able to now to tackle his environment deliberately and consciously, he begins a period of real constructiveness.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 152
As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 145
There is in the child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him, and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life. He does it in virtue of an unconscious power that exists in childhood....The first period of the child's life is one of adaptation. It is the child's special adaptability that makes the land into which he is born the only one in which he will ever want to live.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 57
It is necessary, then, to give the child the possibility of developing according to the laws of his nature, so that he can become strong, and, having become strong, can do even more than we dared hope for him.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 39
The adult ought never to mould the child after himself, but should leave him alone and work always from the deepest comprehension of the child himself.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 18
He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 24
The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 121
We must give the child relaxation from the continuous direction of adults. So we give them the right environment, relaxation and freedom from orders. This is an indirect treatment; it is not the correction of the individual but the preparation for a new life. This is something children have never had, even in the grandest and richest of homes. For even in a palace, you find that the children are relegated to some obscure nursery.
Maria Montessori
The Child, Society and the World, p. 78
Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 1
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
No toys for children, but houses for them; not toys for them, but land on which they can work with small tools; not dolls for children, but real other children and a social life in which they can act for themselves.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 65
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 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
...as soon as concentration appears (in a student), the teacher should pay no attention, as if that child did not exist. Even if two children want the same material, they should be left to settle the problem for themselves unless they call for the teacher's aid.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 88
Man has abandoned the natural path of life for the fatal way of civilisation...The child is entirely in the care of the adults, and they, unless lighted by wisdom of nature or science, will present the greatest obstacle in the child's life.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 63
The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. ...teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 3
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
Obviously, the child must grow and establish certain functions as yet not fixed: e.g. in the first years the function of language, the organisation and coordination of movements, the development of the senses. Through the development of the senses the child, who seems a pilgrim on his first visit to the world, must get into contact with the external world and metaphorically speaking takes nutriment from this contact. He must develop his ideas, his imagination and his reasoning powers.
Maria Montessori
The 1913 Rome Lectures, p. 152
There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 21
We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 69
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
How can we be the judge of what will interest the little child? We must put ourselves at his disposal. All past ideas are thus reversed, and the knowledge of this revolution must be spread among adults.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 94
The discovery that the child has a mind able to absorb on its own account produces a revolution in education. We can now understand easily why the first period in human development, in which character is formed, is the most important. At no other age has the child greater need of an intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 26
The child is much more spiritually elevated than is usually supposed. He often suffers, not from too much work, but from work that is unworthy of him.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 74
Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 54
A felicitous environment that guides the children and offers them the means to exercise their own faculties permits the teacher to absent herself temporarily. The creation of such an environment is already the realisation of great progress.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 46
We must, therefore, quit our roles as jailers and instead take care to prepare an environment in which we do as little as possible to exhaust the child with our surveillance and instruction.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 27
The more the capacity to concentrate is developed, the more often the profound tranquility in work is achieved, then the clearer will be the manifestation of discipline within the child.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 38
The most difficult thing to make clear to the new teacher is that because the child progresses, she must restrain herself and avoid giving directions, even if at first they are expected; all her faith must repose in his latent powers.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 33
Education demands, then, only this: the utilisation of the inner powers of the child for his own instruction.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 33
The life of the spirit prepares the dynamic power for daily life, and, on its side, daily life encourages thought by means of ordinary work.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 31
Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 28
The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens.
Maria Montessori
The Child in the Family, p. 28
Sometimes very small children in a proper environment develop a skill and exactness in their work that can only surprise us.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 87
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
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 word education must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 28
The teacher's task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 7
This strength of imagination in the child under six is usually expended on toys and fairy tales, but surely we can give him real things to imagine about, so putting him in more accurate relation with his environment.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 73
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
The child has his own laws of growth, and if we want to help him grow, we must follow him instead of imposing ourselves on him.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 59
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
In those mysterious places of the brain is a god, a sleeping self, who seems to be awakened by the music of the human voice, a divine call, setting fibres in vibration.
Maria Montessori
Education for a New World, p. 43
...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
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
… the individual thinks more about the success of his group than of his own personal success.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 213
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 Absorbent Mind, p. 57
The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practised to perfection only when working among children.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 257
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
It follows that the child can only develop fully by means of experience on his environment. We call such experience "work".
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 80
The child's conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his "natural development". In other words, if we observe natural development with sufficient care, we see that it can be defined as the gaining of successive levels of independence.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 76
The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 91
The teacher of children up to six years of age knows that she has helped mankind in an essential part of its formation.... She will be able to say: ‘I have served the spirits of those children, and they have fulfilled their development, and I kept them company in their experiences.’
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 259
She understands and believes that the children must be free to choose their own occupations just as they must never be interrupted in their spontaneous activities. No work may be imposed - no threats, no rewards, no punishments. The teacher must be quiet and passive, waiting patiently and almost withdrawing herself from the scene, so as to efface her own personality and thus allow plenty of room for the child's spirit to expand.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 240
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