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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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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