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Books by Maria Montessori

The Secret of Childhood

Maria Montessori

This book outlines the Montessori educational method, focusing on early childhood development and the relation of the child to society. The book shines a light on the new-born child, a spiritual embryo with latent psychic capacities. Montessori unlocks these secrets, showing adults how they can learn from the children, observing, helping, and presenting. Providing a prepared environment, following the child's interests, and offering choices, creates concentration, without the need for punishments and rewards.

Selected Quotes from The Secret of Childhood

...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 first thing required of a teacher is that he be rightly disposed for his task.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 149
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
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
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
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
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 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
... 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
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 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
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
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 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