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Books by Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents

Maria Montessori

We have added to The Montessori Series this small volume with 11 lectures in which Maria Montessori gives parents an introductory explanation of her vision on education. There always has been a great need on the part of the parent to be as knowledgeable as possible about child development and the essence of Montessori education. Maria Montessori never underestimated the role of the parent, which is why she wrote special lectures for parents during courses and congresses. Recently we found in the pedagogical Archives of Maria Montessori an unpublished coherent set of small writings addressed to parents. We added a small biography of Maria Montessori for those parents who do not know her. Paula Polk Lillard, the internationally respected Montessori author, wrote the Foreword, in which she describes her transition from a traditional public school teacher to a Montessori mother, teacher and trainer.

Selected Quotes from Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents

We say this to the teachers in training who enter the Children’s House. ‘Stand by, remain silent, and do not speak a word to the children, do not make any noise. Here the children are in their own world, you must observe simply by looking, you must not wish to judge, correct, or teach. It is only in this way that you can enter into the spirit and practice of the teacher.’
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 17
The great benefit we can bestow on childhood is the exercise of restraint in ourselves.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 18
We do not know this spontaneous being: the child who tries to work constantly. If we did not recognise him as such before, it was because we put obstacles in his path.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 16
You may say that you know how to respect the child, and that perhaps is true but in a moral and theoretical way. I mean it literally: children must be respected as social, human personalities of the first order.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 16
We give the child nourishing food so that his little body may grow, and in just the same way we must provide him with suitable nourishment for his mental and moral growth.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
To understand the needs of the child and to supply these so that his life develops fully, that is the aim underlying my method.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
Those who say it is our duty to keep the child in blind obedience, that we have a right to correct, and that in consequence the child will become intelligent, good, and instructed, are deceiving themselves.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 17
We give the child nourishing food so that his little body may grow, and in just the same way we must provide him with suitable nourishment for his mental and moral growth. Just as we cannot directly help his body to grow into manhood, so we cannot form his mind or character for him. But we can supply his mental needs as we supply his bodily ones and both should be treated in an equally scientific way.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
I have been observing the child at work for many years and have provided for him in the school a new world for his activity. In his school environment he finds objects which he can handle easily, small chairs and tables which he can manage himself, materials that satisfy his inner urge to work and teach him through his own initiative.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 18
In the home, the ideal environment for the child should also contain child-sized furniture, and utensils which he can handle himself.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 18
To understand the needs of the child and to supply these so that his life develops fully, that is the aim underlying my method.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
Here we are mistaken. We treat these children as objects, ordering them about, placing them here and there, and forcing them to fit into our world without the slightest consideration of the lives they live in a world of their own.
Great evils are not resolved by alleviating a collective error. Take the case of woman’s emancipation: it is not a question of giving women a few more rights, but of recognizing a human personality full of vigor, capable of giving a great and sure contribution to the progress of humanity.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 15
We, as adults, must play a new role – we must understand that instead of helping the child we only hinder him if we try to mold him directly.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 16
Adult and child work in entirely different ways. The adult works on the environment and transforms it to suit himself with definite ends in view. The child works to become a man; by an inner force which urges him to continual activity he acquires little by little his mature characteristics.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 16
Do we really need to take for granted any method of education which involves suffering? Perhaps we, educationalists and parents alike, are going together, urged by love, along an enclosed path without an exit. Perhaps we ought rather to turn back and try another road.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 15
Children develop their brains as well as their bodies through movement, and in the process of concentration, self-discipline, and perseverance with an active interest, the foundations of character are laid. To give our children a fine start in life we must see that their surroundings satisfy their need for activity and development, remembering at the same time that our own part is not that of instructor and interferer but of helper and friend.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 51
So many childish activities seem trivial to grown-ups, but a child’s concentration is not a trivial thing. Break that often enough and he will suffer all his life.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 50
What if this child knows nothing of the end he will achieve? If he is allowed to use his spontaneous activity in a tranquil environment without interference or unasked-for help, he is indeed engaged in a most important work: he is building the [person] he will one day be.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 46
Is it through work alone that a child develops.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 44
Children are so responsive that if you treat your child with kindness and consideration he too will be kind. If you let him pursue his own little affairs and interests undisturbed, you will find that he will be less inclined to disturb yours.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 41
The child who is handling specially designed materials at school, the child at home who is allowed to dress himself, help lay the table, in fact carry on the hundred and one activities that interest him and harm nobody, is in reality busily at work on his development – and the method of his learning is through movement.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 34
Your little sons and daughters are men and women in the making. Let them keep their childish secret and you will have the satisfaction of having them turn to you for help when they need it, and you will see over the years how the secret of their childhood grows into adult firmness of character and a fine independence.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 24
A child does not know why he is interested in a particular object or movement at a particular moment – the important thing is that he is interested, and that it is natural for his mind to grow just as his body does, therefore what interests him at the moment is appropriate for his needs.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 23
A child without a secret becomes an adult without personality.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 21
Grown-ups think of play as a purposeless occupation that keeps children happy and out of mischief, but actually when children are left to play by themselves very little of their activity is purposeless.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 17
When a child is tirelessly trying to make patterns with his blocks simply because he is interested, there is no need for outside discipline, the child is disciplining himself.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 13
The great benefit we can bestow on childhood is the exercise of restraint in ourselves.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 5
These children are not to be treated as in other schools, where we begin by examining how they are taught, whether they understand, and if they are disciplined. We have on the contrary to learn something else, essential and fundamental, something we should learn from the first day: how to respect the child.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 3
The child works to become [an adult]; by an inner force which urges him to continual activity he acquires little by little his mature characteristics.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 2
With regard to the social question of the child, the wrongs are due to a fundamental error. It is a question of reforming the reformers: we all need to be changed. We are the adults and the child depends on us; his sufferings, in spite of our good intentions, come from us. If, owing to an error on our part, these evils occur, then it is necessary that the adult’s attitude should be reformed.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 2