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Books by Maria Montessori

The 1946 London Lectures

Maria Montessori

The 1946 London course was the first training course given in Europe by Maria Montessori when she and her son Mario returned from seven years of exile in India during World War II. In these 1946 Lectures, six years before her death, the reader can sense that Montessori has travelled the world and has observed, profoundly and scientifically, an immense amount of children. In these lectures, taken down in English by one of her assistants, Maria Montessori speaks with the mature wisdom of a lifetime spent studying, not just early childhood, but human development as a whole: infancy, the elementary-school years and adolescence. The typescript of this course was to have significant pedagogical consequences, since The 1946 Lectures became the foundation of AMI’s 3-6 courses.

Selected Quotes from The 1946 London Lectures

Education is the help we must give to life so that it may develop in the greatness of its powers. To help those great forces which bring the child, inert at birth, to the greatness of the adult being, this should be the plan of education – to see what help we can give.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
Our aim is to study the child from this new point of view. With this change in our hearts we will want to study him in all his different phases, to study all his miracles, to realise how man reaches the stage of man through the child that constructs him.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
How much fuller and richer life would be if we saw the child in all his greatness, all his beauty, instead of focusing on all his little mistakes?
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
When we see the miracle of a child walking, we take no notice because it is a daily occurrence. And yet we correct all his small peccadilloes.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
Look around at all we have small, great or beautiful – whatever it is; it has been created by man. But while asking for more and more of these marvellous inventions, we never think of the man that created them. We do not consider him at all.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
We only have to look at civilisation to realise the greatness of which man is capable. But we are focused on his errors and mistakes, not on his greatness. The fault lies with us.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 28
We need to change our attitude and see the greatness of the child’s achievements rather than the small and dry leaves of his errors (errors we have caused).
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 27
It is from a state of utter unconsciousness that the child becomes a man with all his ideas and all his abilities. And because this is the origin of everything, it is here that we must seek understanding, seek inspiration and hope.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 27
If we wish to understand man, we must first understand how man has been built. If there is one time in life when all men have the same ideas, when they speak the same language, it is the time of birth. No matter to what race they belong, in which part of the world they are born, newborns are all alike. If we wish to achieve peace and mutual understanding, we must start at the moment of birth, the moment when all men are alike.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 27
If we touch children, we touch humanity. We must educate adults to realize that we can only better humanity through the child. We must realize that the child is the builder of the man.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 26
It is clear that the foundations of man are laid down during this period. When a baby is born, it is not a man that is born. Yet it is the origins of man.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 26
I think the mistake is that we limit our definition of man only to adults. In the eyes of society it is only the adult who is considered a man and a citizen. But is it only the adult who is a man? And a citizen?
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 25
When social groups fight, when wars are won, people speak of rights – the rights of men, better conditions, a better life – but it is a better life for the adult they speak of, not a better life for the child. No thought was ever given to the child.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 25
Have you ever heard anyone say – in any part of the world – that the child must benefit from this democracy, from this justice? Civilisation is made for the adult.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 25
It will be necessary to look to children for help if the world is to be made better.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 24
In these times, more than ever before, our hope is that education will offer an aid to better the condition of the world.
Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 24
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
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 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 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
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
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