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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.

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
’But,’ I can hear you say, ‘shall we leave our children to do as they like? How can they know what is best for them when they have had no experience? And think what little savages they would grow up to be if we did not teach them manners . . .’ And I would answer, ‘Have you ever given your children a chance even for one day to do what they like without interference?’
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 42
Teachers should cultivate a staunch belief in their mission. Only then will it be possible to create a new world through education. However, if this highest of aims is to be attained, also educational methods must radically change to become an active aid to the psychic development of the child, in an environment prepared following dictates culled from exhaustive study and diligent research.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 98
The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, even of an opinion, manifestly unjust and false.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 118
The obedience which is expected of the child both in the home and in the school – and obedience admitting neither of reason nor of justice – prepares man to be docile to blind forces.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 118
The schoolchild, being continually discouraged and scolded, ends by acquiring that mixture of distrust of his own powers and of fear which is called shyness, and which later, in the grown man, takes the form of discouragement and submissiveness, of incapacity to put up the slightest moral resistance.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 118
The child who has never learned to act alone, to direct his own actions, to govern his own will, grows into an adult who is easily led and must always lean upon others.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 118
It is verily upon the perfect and tranquil spiritual life of the child that depends the health or sickness of the soul, the strength or weakness of the character, the clearness or obscurity of the intellect. And if, during the delicate and precious period of childhood, a sacrilegious form of servitude has been inflicted upon the children, it will no longer be possible for men successfully to accomplish great deeds.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 116
When the independent life of the child is not recognised with its own characteristics and its own ends, when the adult man interprets these characteristics and ends, which are different from his, as being errors in the child which he must make speed to correct, there arises between the strong and the weak a struggle which is fatal to mankind.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 116
He [the baby] is developing his muscles. If you watch him closely, you may see perhaps the little fingers open one by one instead of all together – that is a great progress. Gradually he is becoming master of his own fingers, he chuckles with joy as he drops the rattle and you patiently pick it up for him. There is no naughtiness in him, he has no need of external discipline, soon he will drop this occupation of his own accord and perhaps his little toes will become for him next the most interesting things in the world.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 26
The teacher should possess this same faith [in the child]. In fact, he should become imbued by it so that he may contemplate with the same hope any advance, however slow; so that he may investigate the causes and modify the circumstances that impede or delay the normal development of the children entrusted to his care.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 98
The school must be invigorated by a new spirit, animated by a wise teacher, wiser than any other human being because he knows and respects the laws of education.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 98
Once the teacher understands that mysterious powers exist within the child, and that these reveal themselves spontaneously through the child’s activities, his attitude will change, no longer being that of a superior toward an inferior; for he will realise that here is a treasure that must be allowed to yield benefits. Humanity is in dire need of this new type of educators.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 97
I have observed that the child, on condition that he is granted the freedom to work, learns, becomes cultured, absorbs knowledge and gains experiences that become embedded in his spirit. Like seeds planted in fertile ground, they soon germinate and bear fruit.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 96
We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 96
It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed. Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigour of a starving man.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 96
We have observed that the child works willingly, we might even say he throws himself upon his work like a starving man offered a meal after four or five days of fasting. The English have coined a felicitous expression. They speak of mental starvation, that is, malnutrition of the psyche. It describes precisely a symptom that can be observed in children who find themselves in an environment devoid of means for intellectual work.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 96
A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes master of his hand and undertakes with joy a variety of human activities. These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 96
In our Montessori schools, little children spontaneously reveal aptitudes for doing things that we never taught them and of which we would never have thought them capable. This is proof of a hidden wisdom secreted in their psyche.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 95
Whoever seeks a new path to guide humanity to a higher level must look to the child as to a new teacher who brings a new light. As such we have come to know him and as such we venerate him.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 95
Since we have the means to guide the child, it is clear that the formation of man is in our hands. We have the possibility to form the citizen of the world and the study of the young child is fundamental to the peace and progress of humanity.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 93
The mind of the child takes elements from the environment and incarnates them into his being. This does not happen through heredity, but is the consequence of a creative potential within the child. All children in the world follow this law, in the same way, with the same intensity. The creative potential of the child is not the prerogative of one race or another; it is inherent in the nature of the child.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 93
Children should be made to realise that all great achievements in culture and in the arts, all sciences and industries that have brought benefit to humanity, are due to the work of men who often struggled in obscurity and under conditions of great hardship; men driven by a profound passion, by an inner fire, to create with their research, with their work, new benefits not only for the people who lived in their times, but also for those of the future. We must convey to the children the nobility of this altruism.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 85
Our civilisation has reached a deadlock. Never before have men depended on one another as they do today; no one could live alone or be sufficient unto him. This knowledge should be conveyed to the children, the young humans, raising their consciousness and above all arousing their enthusiasm, imbuing them with admiration for the great discoveries made by men; awe for their sacrifices in the cause of civilisation and progress.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 84
If we are to realise the magnitude of the aims achieved by humanity, and envisage those of the future, we should meditate on the various stages of human evolution, study the science from which it takes its name and scrutinise its history.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 82
In order to totally understand human qualities, we must turn to the child; we must bow down to this teacher of nascent life, with the aim not only to develop love among men, but also the highest spiritual values.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 79
The nature of this educational work begins to take shape. It consists in cultivating the immense potential of the individual in order that his hidden energies may develop wholesomely.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 76
We find ourselves at a moment in time in which spiritual life is neglected and materialism is extolled as a virtue; in which the physical prowess of human beings has surpassed that of nature and in which we glimpse the horror of universal destruction. Because of this, we proclaim that the development of creative energies, of the higher characteristics of human beings, is one of the most urgent needs of our social life.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 57
If the rights of man are proclaimed and if the child is recognised as his maker, society should do something much more important than make a few sporadic attempts which tend to multiply institutions indiscriminately.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 56
How is it that the child, born mute and unaware, comes to use a grammatically correct language to express the desires and thoughts that arise in the great mystery of his becoming?
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
The question of education is fundamental because it is an exigency common to all human beings on earth.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
The child has a fundamental role in the construction of the human being. If the dignity and the rights of workers are recognised, so should be the dignity and the rights of the worker who produces man. Based on the affirmation of the child’s dignity, we have to ensure the child’s right and freedom to grow and develop wholesomely, so that he can contribute to human progress with all his faculties, thus fulfilling the task assigned to him by nature.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 54
Men have not been given by heredity the limitation of doing one special thing. Nor is he adapted by heredity to one special geographical region. Man can do anything, he can go anywhere. To him freedom was given, because he is not bound to an obedience which limits him to one kind of work or to one place. Mankind is adapted to any place and able to do any kind of work.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 22
Humanity cannot be constructed only by one-half of human life. The entire world today is based upon the adult, and we have a world that is terrible, that is hard, and which people say is unchangeable. But I ask you, is anything unchangeable?
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 43
It is true that each one of us has not always been a grown-up person. We have, each of us, been a child. From the child has come our personality, our humanity.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 43
If we continue to exclusively address adult concerns, the void which is one of the main causes of today’s social imbalances will be perpetuated.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 54
The question is to bring about a radical change in the way we view human relations, endeavouring to influence men’s consciousness by giving them new ideals, fighting indifference and incomprehension; to awaken in man’s spirit a sense of gratitude towards other men. This can also be done with children. In fact, these endeavours should begin with the children, giving them the opportunity to reflect on the social value of work, on the beauty of labour carried out by others, whereby the common effort enriches the life of all.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 83
We must revise our concepts, our attitudes, our educational systems if we wish to help man to become more cultured, more disciplined, more open to abstract ideas; if our aim is indeed to help him grow to become a citizen of the world.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 79
During this period of growth [childhood] the child learns spontaneously, without tiring; he observes the things around him (one might even say he studies them) and absorbs them, thereby invigorating himself.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 78
The first Right of Man, the Fundamental Right, should recognise the right of the child to be helped to overcome those obstacles which may hinder, repress or deflect his constructive energies thereby denying him the certainty of becoming an efficient, well-balanced adult.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 54
If we truly consider education to be the development of latent possibilities, rather than using the word education, we should adopt another: cultivation. The educator must cultivate the potentialities existing in the child, so they may develop and expand. It is essential to take advantage of this highly sensitive period in the life of the human being if, indeed, humanity is to improve.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 76
The child’s mind is completely different from ours: his mind possesses the magnificent and almost miraculous faculty of taking from the environment external ideas and impressions, incarnating these into his being. An obvious example is the language that the small human being, in spite of being mute at the inception of life, absorbs from the environment. And the adult finds himself, almost as though it were by heredity, with a language complete and fully formed.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 76
It is not yet realised that there are two powerful forces in human life: that which drives the formation of man (childhood) and that which drives the construction of society (adulthood). These forces are so closely meshed that, if one is neglected, the other cannot be attained. There is no awareness that the rights of the adult are necessarily dependent on those of the child.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 54
We have the idea that education can help the development of the child, and that we adult people will give this help. That is the ordinary idea of education. This idea is not a right idea, because it concludes that the adult can help this little child very much with his own wisdom and care. The idea of education is to give to the child and to young people all the best that we have.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 44
I have seen that children can do much for the community. In the child is much knowledge, much wisdom. If we do not profit from it, it is only because of neglect on our part to become humble and to see the wonder of this soul and learn what the child can teach.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 45
If we truly want to achieve equality and harmony among human beings, we must not neglect the time of life when the social, idealistic and linguistic differences which separate human groups do not yet exist.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
For so long as we continue to look exclusively at the weakness of the newborn, for so long as we continue considering him psychologically disabled, we will miss both the most important secret and the most important energy in human life. And the shower of new souls in continuous renovation will be lost in an ocean of indifference and oppression, instead of leading to the salvation of the arid spirits that languish in the desert of our unawareness.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 56
The child has always been the forgotten citizen. While the evolution of civilisation has progressively produced some improvements in the living conditions of adults, those of the child have deteriorated. For the child, life is more and more unhealthy; the time he spends with his mother decreases consistently; his freedom of action diminishes and his participation in the life of adults dwindles to nothingness.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 56
The child has been the constructor of every one of us. Before we became an important adult, a respected person, a person who takes his part in society, we have been another personality, a personality very mysterious, not considered in this world, not respected, a person that has no importance, no choice. Yet he is capable of something we cannot do – he is capable of constructing an immense world in a way we cannot even imagine of doing.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 44
The children, who live a life more pure than ours, are divine workers; without pretensions, without pride, they accomplish humanity’s magnum opus: the construction of man. And those who assist in this great work are enriched by the children’s spiritual values and are elevated. The superiority and condescension evinced by adults towards the child crumble and, instead, a sense of humility emerges, the same sense that is evoked in him who succeeds in tearing the veil that hides the secrets of creation.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 75
In my life I have had the wonderful chance to know some children who have given me their revelations, and then have discovered that these revelations were not special and unique to these particular children but are common to all children.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 45
This [childhood] is the time of great powers and deep mysteries: the human being develops like a seed hidden in the earth that germinates and grows to become a spike of wheat.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
Nature has given to this new person its laws, and all that takes place is not in our hands. Not that we cannot help; we can and do, but we had the idea that it was we adults who built him, that we must do everything for this little child instead of seeing how much he can give to us.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 44
Our idea about the child is that he is nothing, a little thing, an empty thing without importance. No empty thing, nothing without importance, can be the constructor of a Man. Imagine the beginnings of this plant here. It was cultivated from a seed. We do not consider a seed as without importance, but we know that the seed has within it the plant and that, if cultivated, forth from it will come a new plant. But it has not been realized that in every child is the seed that will mature into an adult.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 44
How is it that the two-year-old uses the language he finds in his environment, despite the difficulties this may involve, without the help of a teacher?
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
We have to look at the newborn to understand the secret of our life. We have to study how this being that at birth is incapable of comprehension and lacks self-awareness, who has neither memory nor will, becomes intelligent.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 55
This is the hope we have – a hope in a new humanity that will come from this new education, an education that is a collaboration of man and the universe that is a help for evolution.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 50
We cannot with our efforts, create a man. That is the task of the child himself, and it is the most important side of the whole educational question: what the child himself accomplishes of his own power and not what adult man can do for him.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 44
It is in this stage that ‘vocation’ and ‘militancy’ occur. These children want to make a direct contribution to society and have it recognized. It is something new.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 40
A totally different psychology now distinguishes the individual. He passes from feeling for himself in relation with those with who he is in contact, to feeling for others whom he has never seen. It is an abstract love. It is love without retribution because it is directed towards those never seen and whom he never will see because they are too numerous.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 40
Each plane must be lived through fully in order to pass with mastery to the next.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 39
It is their [second plane children’s] conscience that stands out most and of great interest is what is good, just or unjust. They have a keen feeling towards injustice. When the adult demands from the very young child something that he cannot give, it is always the seven-year-old that comes to his defence. The rebellion against injustice is general; it extends even to animals.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 39
It is not enough to provide material for the child to work in school. He demands to go out into the world. Besides material, the school should provide also guides so that the child can go and find the material for himself. We have provided schools and material; they are not enough, he requires exploring the physical world and society.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 28
We might say that the younger children take in things sensorially. The child of seven enters the abstract field, he wishes to know reasons. It is curious to notice that one of the things which preoccupy these children is what is ethical in life: what is good, what is bad. If you tell the little child that he is bad or good, he just accepts it. Whereas the seven-year-old wants to know why he is bad, and what it is to be bad etc.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 37
In a school we were carrying out experiments in biology; there was an aquarium that was accessible to children from three to nine years. One morning the fish were all dead. The little ones, struck by this fact, ran to every newcomer to announce that ‘the fishes are dead’, then ran back to their former occupation. The older children stood quietly around the aquarium saying: ‘Why are the fish dead?’ ‘Why? Why do things happen, how do they come about?’
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 37
Children like to learn all the courtesies of social life. If one teaches them, they are interested to know how to greet, how to excuse themselves when they pass in front of other people etc.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 35
We can sum this up in two sentences; the first actually said by a child to his teacher: ‘Help me to do it by myself’. The other is one we gave: ‘Every useless help is an obstacle to development’.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 34
Our schools are like a furnished house, a ‘children’s house’. And what do the children do? It is what one does in one’s own house. They carry out work which has a practical aim, they sweep, dust, dress themselves, etc. In this house each one carries out his own work independently from the others; but if something occurs to one of them like knocking over a cup full of beads, or when there is any need for help in similar accidents, the other children are quick to assist.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 34
Liberty is not to be free to do anything one likes; it is to be able to act without help.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 24
The child realises that through his own efforts he can be independent and achieve things he has set his mind to. And gradually we educators are confronted with a simple but important fact: that to help the child is not what he needs, and indeed that to give help is an impediment for the child. Therefore he must be allowed to act freely on his own initiative in this free environment.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 34
It is to correspond to these needs [for independence] that we prepared an environment proportionate to the size and intelligence of the children, where they could work and achieve independence.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 34
With regard to the child, education should correspond to these [developmental] stages, so that instead of dividing the schools into nursery, primary, secondary and university, we should divide education in planes and each of these should correspond to the phase the developing individuality is going through.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 33
I have found that in his development, the child passes through certain phases, each of which has its own particular needs. The characteristics of each are so different that the passages from one phase to the other have been described by certain psychologists as ‘rebirths’.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 32
The child does not grow in a uniform way day by day, at the same rate. In growth there are crises, somewhat like the metamorphosis of the insects.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 32
I can only say that as the children become older their life becomes more complicated. To answer these needs why does society only give sport and games? Why is there pride just in winning a game? Why not aim to make the individual psychically strong? Why not institute moral sport through social experience? Why not have championships of men and women who are morally strong?
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 31
So I repeat that we cannot give principles by teaching them but by prolonged social experience.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 31
How can one widen the circle of his society? To do this it is true that he must learn something. ‘You want to go out? Then you must learn certain rules. You want to go out of the house? Then you must learn to lead a simple life.’ He likes to feel that he can walk through life carrying on his shoulders all that is necessary to his own life. He wishes, too, to go out in the traffic in safety. So, the child wishes to submit to all the necessary rules for they lead to a better life.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 30
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.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 72
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.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 72
In our schools we give the children small chairs and tables, so that they may move as masters in their own world instead of wrestling continually with awkward objects in a world specially created for grown-ups.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 72
A child’s needs are simple, and a happy childhood needs only simple surroundings.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 72
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. 70
In a child’s surroundings there are always two factors, the human as well as the material one. And it is in the human factor that children with nannies who do everything for them are at such a disadvantage. It is not enough for a child that he shall eat and be dressed; his whole instinct is to feed himself and dress himself.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 70
When a child shows an interest in anything about the house let him have it if you possibly can and perhaps it will keep him occupied for hours; then, once he has exhausted its interest as likely as not he will never ask for it again.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 70
At seven years begins a physical and psychological change. The child of seven has a different psychic attitude. Physically nature puts a sign that is obvious. The pearly teeth of the little child fall out, they are replaced by large, strong, deeply rooted teeth; the curly hair becomes straighter and darker; the fat chubby body becomes gawky and thinner.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 36
The urge towards growth lies within the child himself – his intelligence and character will grow whatever we may do, but we can help or hinder the growth. The child in the overluxurious nursery with too many toys and distractions and the irksomeness of constant supervision is like a young plant that is overwatered – the soil turns sour and the plant becomes sickly.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 69
If the child 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 man he will one day be.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 66
Young children do not have to go to school to work. Playtime for them is a time of learning by practice. Every new movement which a little child makes is tried first of all tentatively and then repeated until the first clumsiness is gradually refined to an exact movement. Every plaything he uses is a tool for his work.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 65
In our schools we allow the children to use their spontaneous activity by offering them objects which call for movements appropriate to their stage of development; in this way they learn through doing. This is their work, and their concentration and perseverance is astonishing.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 65
Have you ever seen a child, flushed with the new accomplishment of putting on his socks and shoes, dеliberately take them off in order to go through the whole performance again?
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 64
Now consider for a moment the work of a small child. His work is to create the man he will be. But he is not conscious of this end, he is conscious only of the means he employs. From a baby’s first kicking through his successive attempts to hold his head up, sit up, grasp his toes, his mother’s finger, and bright colored objects, he is working at his own muscular and mental development. Nobody can give him direct help with this; no mechanical device can save him the labor of co-coordinating his muscles or exercising his mind.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 64
We grown-ups are inclined to think that no one really works but ourselves. It is we who earn a living, it is we who have built us the civilization we live in, we who work looking after our homes and children … What work does a small child do? A few lessons perhaps, a little task to help mother … and the rest–play, an aimless carefree unimportant pastime. Of course, we grown-ups work, I don’t deny that. But I do most emphatically say that a child works quite as hard as we do, but in his own way.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 64
Is it through work alone that a child develops.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 64
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. Try to interfere with him as little as possible, there is no need to worry about him growing up ignorant or ill-mannered. Instead he will be observant and intelligent, independent and persevering, and these qualities lie at the root of personality.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 61
Because the teacher respects each child and refrains from interference, the children treat one another with the same respect and kindness.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 61
In school the teacher stands by, she does not correct or interfere with the child’s work. When something goes wrong she waits to be asked for help, but most often a child persists until he himself does it right. This is perseverance, the beginning of will power which is so important a part of personality.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 60-61
In this school everything has its place and is kept there, because I have observed over and over again that children have a feeling for orderliness. Your child will learn to know where he may find things and he will put them back of his own accord when he has finished with them.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 59
The child who has to sit still listening to a teacher is in the worst possible state of mind and body for learning. Likewise, the child whose life at home is strictly ordered according to the convenience of grown-ups without knowledge or consideration of the natural movement and active interest of childhood is in the worst possible state of mind and body, either for obedience or good manners.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 52
The child who has to sit still listening to a teacher is in the worst possible state of mind and body for learning. Likewise, the child whose life at home is strictly ordered according to the convenience of grown-ups without knowledge or consideration of the natural movement and active interest of childhood is in the worst possible state of mind and body, either for obedience or good manners.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 52
In the old way the teacher made the children learn the multiplication tables by heart and then taught them to do the sums. Today children handle rods of different lengths and learn the proportions they bear to one another by arranging them accurately. This method leads them in a natural way from practice to principle.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 51
Among the school material small children enjoy most are the frames with two pieces of cloth – some have buttons and buttonholes, others ribbons, hooks and eyes, and shoe buttons – and it is delightful to watch the toddlers doing up buttons and tying bows with tremendous concentration.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 49
We do not teach the children these things [practical life activities] to make little servants of them, but because we have observed that of their own accord children actually take the greatest interest in perfecting all the movements of daily life.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 49
The children love to do these things [practical life activities] for themselves and they learn to be careful and precise in their movements. This is both education of movement, because there is a refinement of muscular co-ordination when the work is carefully done, and education through movement, because these activities involve judgement and will, self-discipline, and an appreciation of orderliness.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 49
When they arrive in the morning, there are many things to attend to. The children look after the classroom. They sweep with their own small brooms and dust and scrub and polish. Then there is their personal cleanliness. When a child’s hands are dirty, we do not take him to the basin and wash his hands or hold his face while we do the washing. The children learn to do these things for themselves as a matter of course.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 48-49
The greatest help you can give your children is the freedom to go about their own work in their own way, for in this matter your child knows better than you.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 45
If we change our whole attitude and say to ourselves, ‘My child knows what is best for him. Let us of course watch that he comes to no harm, but instead of trying to teach him our ways let us give him the freedom to live his little life in his own way,’ then perhaps, if we are observant, we shall learn something about the ways of childhood.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 44-45
We say that we correct them for their own good, and a great deal of the time we honestly believe it. But it is strange how often what we feel to their good amounts to the same thing as our own comfort.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 43
If you interfere impatiently and stop some absorbing occupation, you will destroy your child’s concentration and perseverance – valuable lessons he is teaching himself –, he will be dissatisfied and filled with a sense of disappointment and restlessness, and may very likely find an outlet in deliberate mischief.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 42-43
It is often not enough for children to do a thing once or twice, but they will perform the same simple action over and over again until they seem to have satisfied some inner urge.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 42
This young life that we are trying to mould needs no forcing and squeezing, no correcting or faultfinding to develop its intelligence and character. Nature looks after children in the same way as she sees that the tadpole grows into a frog when the time is ready.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 42
Our part is to give help when we are asked. If we are careful not to interfere with a child’s activities and interests as long as they are not harmful, nature will see to his development.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 40
We call our schools Children’s Houses, and in them the children are masters of the house. When we have visitors we do not allow them to behave as though the children are objects on display to be questioned. Our visitors come as guests to the Children’s House, and we expect them to respect our children as guests respect their hosts.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 39
We are completely on the wrong track when we believe that expensive toys should keep a child happy, or that the child who has a nanny to do everything for him is particularly fortunate.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 33
A child’s work is based on doing things for their own sake. There is an end towards which his work is taking him: through his work he is building the man he will become. But the child doesn’t know this; he only knows that he takes delight in doing certain things. This is his work.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 32-33
We make learning difficult for children by trying to teach them by means of grown-up methods; the natural and happy way for children to learn, however, is by touching and moving solid objects, not by trying to memories rules.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 32
The wise mother will remember that play time is never wasted. So long as the children are busily absorbed, they are working at their own development – for children would rather work than play.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 34
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. 31
You will be surprised when I tell you that the greater part of what you call ‘play’ is really work.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 31
The spontaneous urge towards development, which is within the child, dictates its own pace. It is the part of a wise and loving parent to stand by, to watch the little one’s activities, to observe his growth rather than to try to force it.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 28
I do say that ‘don’ts’ are far less effective – indeed they are often definitely harmful when they fill a young child with fear or resentment – than providing him with some alternative activity at which he may work joyfully, forgetting all about the previous activity or behaviour which you were anxious for him to stop.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 28
We can love our children so dearly that it makes us blind to what is best for them. We can desire so eagerly that they shall grow into fine men and women that we correct and frustrate them at every turn without once realising that they have within themselves the power of their own development.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 28
It is on this principle of the development of the child through handling interesting objects that I have built up my method of education.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 27
It is tremendously important that we should understand the spontaneous way in which the child develops himself. We are so anxious to help, to us it seems the burden of growth and development is so great that we must do all we can to make the pathway easy. And so our love may easily overreach itself and by providing too many urges, too many cautions and corrections.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 26
I have said enough if I have persuaded you to undertake for yourself the interesting experiment of a visit to one of our schools to watch the happy little ones at work.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 23
Just as we cannot directly help the child’s 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
... the child of seven years must have other kinds of social experiences. We can say that up to seven years the experiences have been in a small house that belonged to him. Now he must go out from it and make greater efforts.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 29
Through concentration important qualities of character develop. When the concentration passes, the child is inwardly satisfied, he becomes aware of his companions in whom he shows a lively and sympathetic interest.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 22
For the ‘valorisation’ of the child’s personality there must be a very definite basis in social experiences.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 29
From three to six years, children have a real ‘sense hunger’, they love to touch things, to fit different shapes together, to grade colours and musical sounds. The material is carefully gradated to satisfy the child’s every need, and once the child has fixed his attention, he becomes a little individual, no longer an imitator.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 22
It is the ‘valorisation’ of the personality, to become aware of ones own value. Without this, as many psychologists say, the child only feels his own value if he is loved. This is another ‘valorisation’ – he is independent, he is sure of his own actions and knows how to act.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 28-29
There is no punishment or reward in our schools to interfere with the joy in the work itself. The only reward is in the completion of the work – it is at this time that internal discipline establishes itself, and the foundations of character are laid.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 22
So we realise that in order to develop the individual needs to display effort, to exercise himself and not be dependent on others. Now this independence is acquired only by an effort. Liberty or freedom is the independence acquired by one’s own effort.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 28
When the child is finished [working] he is eager to share his joy, to help the little ones, and because the others have respected his work he never thinks of interfering with those who are still at work.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 22
... the child always chooses something hard to do. This is something we would never have thought of.
Children of three or four will concentrate for an hour at a time without effort, and we are careful not to destroy this new power by the arbitrary demands of a fixed timetable.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 22
We can see clearly what is necessary to give in order to help the child. It is to give the possibility of independence, of living together and carrying out social experiences.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 28
As the child learns to handle the materials carefully his delight grows, and eventually he can be trusted to dust the cupboard with the fragile glasses inside. There is no need to worry about his ungainly movements [...] they will vanish of their own accord.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
We had a little goat [...] I was feeding him and holding the grass always higher, in order to see how high he could stretch before I gave him the grass. Then I saw a little child approach seriously from behind and help support the goat, in order that he might more easily get the grass. It revealed how we adults can be completely unconscious of doing something that is not right. While living with children one continually has these lessons. One does things, without bad intentions, as I was, but the child has a greater fineness of perception in the course of his development.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 28
During many years of experiment and observation, I discovered that children learn naturally through activity, and that their characters develop through freedom. But these are general principles, which require practical application, and the Montessori materials have been evolved to meet this need.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
Perhaps the failure of the secondary school is due to the fact that it uses methods of assimilation that are no longer suited to the development of the child. The child should no longer be restricted to the environment of the school, to the vaster environment in which he learned and understood the how and the why, nor be so close to the family from which he depends financially; he wants ‘to live’ society. He should go farther away.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 40
The teacher shows the child how to use the materials, how to wash himself, but it is the child who handles the material, perfects himself in his exercise, and keeps his face clean of his own accord. Thus he is both active and free, and from these two factors is created that vital quality of a strong character: internal discipline.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 20
When the children find themselves in the environment we have prepared, the social contact with other children begins. [...] One might imagine that the children would fight, but no, the children have solved the problem. We can sum this up by saying that the child leaves the others to be active as long as he also can be active. Each respects the work of the other. This shows that the interest of these individuals is to be active.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
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
Harmonious relation between adult and child does not depend only on their loving each other. Rather, mutual understanding and love depend on whether the child has acquired his independence.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
On every teacher and every parent, I urge not great instruction, but humility and simplicity in dealing with small children. Their lives are fresh, without rivalry or external ambitions, it takes so little to make them happy, to let them work in their own way towards the normal development of the men and women they will be.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 18
When the child has acquired this independence his relation to the adult is changed. He is sweeter and calmer. He no longer lives under a repression (the mental suggestion of the adult) therefore he loses any antipathy.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
The adult must not interfere, must not act instead of the child. Give him the means and let him act: his freedom consists of this.
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 18
Whenever possible, the child has a tendency to render himself independent of the help of others, especially of the adult. Then, in acquiring this independence, he seeks for the personal effort. This means that he learns to function by himself. If he cannot acquire this independence he does not exist as an individual – for the characteristic of an individual is one who can function by himself.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
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
If the different individuals have to live harmoniously in one society, with a common aim there must be a set of rules which we call morality. Therefore, we can consider morality as a form of adaptation to a common life for the achievement of a common aim. Morality, which is usually considered as an abstraction, we wish to consider as a technique which allows us to live together harmoniously.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 26
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 must study the correlation between life and its environment. In nature everything correlates. This is the method of nature. Nature is not concerned with the conservation of individual life: it is a harmony, a plan of construction. Everything fits into the plan: winds, rocks, earth, water, plants, man, etc.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 22
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
Favourable conditions came to be realised. A very rare thing. Indeed, because, though it is often said that parents or teachers should leave the children free, to do it really is another matter.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, 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
If a child meets certain difficulties in his work the other children never spontaneously help him.... But if there is an accident when help is really needed, the child will rise and go to help. He will leave all he is doing, no matter how important, in order to help. This is a social relation very different from our own. We adults are always ready to help those who need no help, but if there is someone in real need of help, a help that will require sacrifice from us, we immediately look for a way of escape from giving it.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
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
Gradually, we came to recognise the child’s love for order and witnessed its surprising memory of the exact position of each object.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 17
Especially then, when the child’s need of activity was not understood, any mother would have said: ‘Now you are clean, that is enough, stop’. But here in the school the children were able to carry out these activities to their full satisfaction.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 16
Nature seems to show that there is a mutual exchange between the different kinds of life and the general environment, meaning that each kind can find what it needs for life and happiness in that environment; but also that life and happiness can only be fulfilled by its particular form of service rendered to the environment. So adaptation means fulfilment of conditions, necessary for life and happiness.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, 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
The children behaviour led us to become aware of a fundamental truth, namely that the child works for his own inner development and not to reach an exterior aim and that when he has done this work he has not really developed a special ability but he has developed something in himself.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, 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. 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
Another thing which at the time seemed strange was the need for order which developed in the children. They put everything back in its proper place.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 17
I feel that it is a difficult path that we are following, and we must seek out someone who can teach us something more practical. This ‘someone’ who can teach us is the child. The child can reveal to us the origin of society and can show us the way out of this intricate question. Our task is to give help to the child and watch for what he will reveal to us.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 27
It is easy to understand that each animal does unknowingly some work in the environment which is useful to it. This is in contrast to the old idea which was that life in the environment meant to get as much as possible from it; today ideas are very different. Now, it is realized that each animal behaves in a particular way, not only for his own good, but because he works also for the environment. He is an agent who works for the harmonious correlation of all things.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 19
Nature has this beautiful arrangement in which everybody, while striving for his own life and happiness, does something for the improvement and conservation of the environment.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 21
We dealt with the matter of teaching them to comb their hair and to dress themselves. This was indeed an enormous success. Having learned to button their clothes, they unbuttoned them and re-buttoned, repeating the process again and again.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 16
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
Only those who are adapted to their environment can be said to be really normal. Adaptation is the starting point, the ground we stand on.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 19
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.
Then certain little facts happened which impressed me. For example, the children showed a very great love for cleanliness. They had been taught by us how to wash their hands and they went everywhere looking for opportunities to do so.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 16
Discovery concerns something which, though already in existence, for one reason or another has remained hidden from human consciousness. In this case it was the discovery of the deeper nature of the child, for when the right conditions were established, the result was the spontaneous appearance of characteristics which revealed not a portion but the whole personality. I must affirm once again that they were not the consequence of a determined or a pre-established plan of education.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 12
The conjugation of verbs evokes a kind of philosophical analysis which helps towards understanding that the verb in a sentence represents the voice that speaks of action. It is not the indication of an action actually being performed by the speaker. Such reflective exploration of the verb also awakens in the consciousness a notion of the different latitudes of time. The irregular verbs, otherwise so difficult to learn, exist already in the language spoken by the child and it is now only a question of ‘discovering’ that they are irregular.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 95
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
Not one of them had ever before even taken chalk or any other writing instrument into his hand. This was the first time that they had written, and they traced out whole words, just as when they spoke for the first time they spoke a whole word.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 222
Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education.
Maria Montessori
Education and Peace, p. 24
At the present stage of civilisation one of the most imminent perils is that of going against nature’s law in the education of the child, to suffocate and deform him under the error of common prejudices.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 66
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
The roots of every plant seek out, from among the many substances which the soil contains, only those which they need.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 248
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
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
The characteristic of children under 6 years of age is that it is almost impossible to teach them; children of this age cannot take from a teacher. Therefore they are considered to be too young to go to school and therefore education does not begin until 6 years of age. Another characteristic of this age is that the children know and understand a great deal. They are full of knowledge. This would seem to be a contradiction, but the truth is that these children must take knowledge by themselves from the environment.
Maria Montessori
The Child, Society and the World, p. 44
It is easy to find the identities with the colour tablets, because the colours contrast so vividly. This is a path which we throw open – very easy. But it is a scientific method. The child has seen many colours in the environment, but we give three elementary colours as a guide to his scientific observation of colour.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 11
Reading, therefore, penetrates directly the level of culture, because these exercises are not limited to reading only, but form part of a progress in knowledge — the study of one's own language. During this brilliant process of development all grammatical difficulties are met and overcome. Even those minute variations applied to words when they have to be adapted to the details of expressive speech such as prefixes, suffixes, declensions, etc., become interesting objects of exploration.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 95
It was not simply a single child but rather many who showed this same surprising ability. They obviously had a special sensitivity for words and were ravenous in their desire to master the written language.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 221
Summing up, we may say that the two mechanical factors of writing are resolved into two independent exercises, that is, drawing, which gives the hand the ability to handle the writing instrument, and touch the letters of the alphabet, which serves to establish a motor memory along with a visual memory of the letters.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 209
I realised that the necessary movement of the hand for sewing had been prepared without sewing, and that before teaching it is first necessary to find the way to teach. This is particularly true when it is a question of gaining facility in movements. These could be carried out almost automatically through repeated exercises even apart from the work for which they were directly intended. In this way one could set himself to a task and be already capable of carrying it out without ever having directly put his hand to it, and he could complete it almost perfectly at the first attempt.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 196
Regarding reading, it is already in a sense implied in the exercise with the movable alphabet. In a perfectly phonetic language it could be developed without any further aid if there were a strong impulse to know the secrets of writing. Our small children, on their Sunday walks with their parents, would stop for a long time in front of the shops and succeed in deciphering the names written outside, although they were in printed capital letters whilst they had learnt only the letters of the movable alphabet in cursive script.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 94
Now the hand can be prepared directly to trace the signs of the alphabet by the help of the tactile and muscular senses, not by that of sight. We have, therefore, prepared for our children letters cut out in sandpaper, and pasted on smooth cardboard. They reproduce in dimension and shape the letters of the movable alphabet. We teach the children to trace them in the same way as is followed in writing. This is a very simple procedure which leads to marvellous results. Thus the children stamp, so to speak, the shape of the letters on their hands. When they begin to write, spontaneously their penmanship is well nigh perfect....
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 93
The apparent fatigue of the child between the first and second period of work is interesting; at that moment the aspect of the child is not calm and happy as at the end of the curve; indeed, he shows signs of agitation, moves about, and walks, but does not disturb the others. It may be said that he is in search of the maximum satisfaction for his interest, and is preparing for his ‘great work’. But, on the other hand, when the cycle is completed, the child detaches himself from his internal concentration; refreshed and satisfied, he experiences the higher social impulses, such as desiring to make confidences and to hold intimate communion with other souls.
But the child is conscious of another kind of work which has its origin in life itself. If it were true that man need not work in order to live or man did not work in order to find a means of having enough money to get food and clothing for himself and his family, that man would work just the same, because man works as he breathes and because it is a form of life. Without work, man would not be able to live without becoming ill, degenerate and old, and that is why work is one of the essential of existence, of life. Men are urged to work by a need which is higher than the instinct of self-preservation, and a man who no longer works for himself of his family is a man who does the great work of the world.
Maria Montessori
The Child, Society and the World, p. 84
We have sounds of the bells. We try in the case of each sound to find its equal. This we call pairing. I might do an exercise by mixing them all up and then pairing them. This is a search we carry out. It is possible to seek out in a number of bells the two which correspond directly. There is no need for preparation, anybody can begin this; this is only a gradation of sound.
Actually, a child has only a sensible appreciation of these proportions, but his mind is trained on the basic data that prepares the way for mathematics.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 129
Later on the children themselves will tend to become careless in the exact performance of their movements. Their interest in developing the coordination of the muscles will begin to decline. The mind of the child will press on, he will no longer have the same love that he had before. His mind must move along a determined path which is independent both on his own will and that of his teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 88
My intention was to keep in touch with the research of other, but to preserve my independence. The only thing that I considered to be essential was Wundt's maxim that “all methods of experimental psychology can be reduced to one, namely, to carefully recorded observation.”
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 42
Language is one the characteristics which distinguish man 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
Just as in the case of the solid insets, the control of error over such exercises [geometry cabinet] is absolute. A particular figure cannot be put anywhere except within its own corresponding recessed plaque. A child therefore can carry the exercise out by himself and perfect his perception of various shapes.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 135
It is a fact that anyone who lives with children, anyone who knows how to approach them with love, will always learn new things.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 80
I have observed for myself the exuberance, the generosity with which the nature of the child responds to scientific education. This observation left me thoughtful and filled with awe; and I became a faithful follower of the child’s spirit.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 78
The word ‘educate’ has as many meanings as there are ideologies in the world and can be interpreted in many ways. One fact, however, is impressive. All those engaged in education agree that education must begin at birth.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 75
To understand the child as a creative power, to realise that he is psychologically different from us, to perceive that his need is different from ours is a step forward for all human aspirations and prepares a loftier level for social life.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 67
If we wish to make the effort of unifying human society, we must acknowledge the individual and consider the human being as such from birth.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 51
Every human being has developed from a child: the energies that move humanity come from the expansion of the energies latent in children.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 50
The role of the child in humanity, the role that has caused him to be called ‘father of man’ and ‘force which directs the formation of man’ seems to be still generally ignored.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 50
Like a sponge these children absorb. It is marvellous, this mental power of the child. Only we cannot teach directly. It is necessary that the child teach himself, and then the success is great.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 45
We must take man himself, take him with patience and confidence, across all the planes of education. We must put everything before him, the school, culture, religion, the world itself. We must help him to develop within himself that which will make him capable of understanding. It is not merely words, it is a labour of education. This will be a preparation for peace – for peace cannot exist without justice and without men endowed with a strong personality and a strong conscience.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 38
...there would be all kinds of artistic occupations open to free choice both as to the time and the nature of the work. Some must be for the individual and some would require the cooperation of a group. They would involve artistic and linguistic ability and imagination,...
Maria Montessori
From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 75
Each plane must be lived through fully in order to pass with mastery to the next.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 35
…in order to keep up with evolving humanity, Education should continue throughout life.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 37
Indeed we have come to the conclusion that the basis of all culture should be given in this period from seven years to adolescence. I mentioned the fact that on this educational plane, giving material was not enough, but material is nonetheless essential.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 33
At each age one must seek for the opportunity for the greatest effort, and the greatest social experience one can reach actively.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 24
[The child] chooses the narrow path that we might consider hard. Yes, this little man has taken the narrow, straight path, the strong way. Thus we see the hardworking child doing difficult work, which seems to us out of proportion to his age.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 23
...whenever possible, the child has a tendency to render himself independent of the help of others, especially of the adult. Then, in acquiring this independence, he seeks for the personal effort. This means that he learns to function by himself. If he cannot acquire this independence he does not exist as an individual – for the characteristic of an individual is one who can function by himself.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 21
Evolution, in the history of life, is a slow process. Education, however, the type of education I am speaking about, will certainly be an element to reach the loftiness destined to humanity.
Maria Montessori
Citizen of the World, p. 14
To make the hearing of music an intelligent act and not like the mechanical process, which appears when children read, in loud monotone, books which they cannot understand and of the meaning of which they have no idea, preparatory exercises are required. We get this preparation through various exercises in the audition of various scales for the recognition of key, and in exercises on the interpretation of rhythm.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 73
When the children walk to the rhythm, continuing on the line, it reminds us of the motion of the earth around its axis.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 39
Reading music is like reading words. It begins when by presenting something written we are capable of understanding it and representing it in sounds. It is a mysterious thing like the matter of the alphabet; only here we have a musical sound to correspond to what is written; these are therefore exercises of reading. This fact is independent of the nature of the instrument; the music that is read can be played on the bells or on any other instrument.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 37
It is through movement that the child arrives at understanding music. It is not only by playing and singing for the child that this happens; he must understand it by his own movements.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 33
It is movement that interests the child in music, and it is by movement that the very tiny child can arrive at understanding music with considerable delicacy.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 32
The most difficult thing, as teachers know, is not to move. It is more difficult not to move than to move well; for this reason, children must have much practice in moving well and in controlling their motions before exercising the will to successfully inhibit every voluntary movement.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 23
When we give the child the possibility to fix his attention in an orderly fashion upon some objects which also permit a motor exercise, we give such clearness to the mind of the child. This clearness gives a new fascination and a new impulse, a new mode of observation.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 19
If someone followed small children in their first years, he would notice that they observe fine noises which come from afar, for example, the bark of a dog which they are accustomed to hearing, or the noise of a motor bicycle far away, or of a trumpet in the distance. There is no doubt that the children notice music; who does not know of the pleasure with which children follow musicians?
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 19
With the sound boxes, I find two sounds which are identical; it does not matter whether they are quiet sounds or loud ones. I can seek out in the environment similar sounds and I have an infallible guide. I have a rule for my observation. I have the beginning of my scientific observation.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 10-11
We tend to think that the realm of music is the privileged area of some happy few. Experience has taught us, however, that if offered the right kind of education from a very early age onwards, anyone is capable of entering the realm of music. Not everyone has the talent to practise music at an artistic level, or create new work, but everyone can reach a stage where they can enjoy it.
Maria Montessori
The Montessori Approach to Music, p. 1
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
Grown-ups and children must join their forces. In order to become great, the grown-up must become humble and learn from the child.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 267
Love is more than the electricity which lightens our darkness, more than the etheric waves that transmit our voices across space, more than any of the energies that man has discovered and learned to use. Of all things love is the most potent.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 269
If we study the child better than we have done hitherto, we discover love in all its aspects. Love has not been analysed by the poets and by the prophets, but it is analysed by the realities which every child discloses in himself.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 267
The Absorbent Mind forms the basis of the society created by man, and we see it in the guise of the gentle and tiny child who soIves by the virtue of his love the mysterious difficulties of human destiny.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 267
[The Absorbent Mind] which receives all, does not judge, does not refuse, does not react. It absorbs everything and incarnates it in the coming man. The child performs this work of incarnation to achieve equality with other men and to adapt himself to live with them.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 266
The Absorbent Mind welcomes everything, puts its hope in everything, accepts poverty equally with wealth, adopts any religion and the prejudices and habits of its countrymen, incarnating all in itself. This is the child!
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 266
The study of love and its utilisation will lead us to the source from which it springs, The Child.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 270
... 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. Now the adult himself is part of the child's environment; the adult must adjust himself to the child's needs if he is not to be a hindrance to him and if he is not to substitute himself for the child in the activities essential to growth and development.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 106
Whilst moving the objects used in our sensory exercises, the children's hands are being prepared for all the actions necessary for writing.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 91
… we have learnt from him certain fundamental principles of psychology.  One is that the child must learn by his own individual activity, being given a mental freedom to take what he needs, and not to be questioned in his choice.
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 4
... prophets and poets speak often of love as it if were an ideal; but it is not just an ideal, it is, has always been, and will ever be, a reality.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 264
And in these qualities of the child, she sees man as he ought to be: the worker who never tires, because what drives him on is a perennial enthusiasm. She sees one who seeks out the greatest efforts because his constant aspiration is to make himself superior to difficulties; he is a person who really tries to help the weak, because in his heart there is the true charity which knows what is meant by respect for others, and that respect for a person's spiritual efforts is the water that nourishes the roots of his soul. In the possession of these characteristics, she will recognise the true child, who is father of the true man.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 257
The child does not follow the law of the least effort, but a law directly contrary. He uses an immense amount of energy over an unsubstantial end, and he spends, not only driving energy, but intensive energy in the exact execution of every detail.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 204
The child feels the need to repeat this exercise not in order to perfect his performance but in order to build up his own inner being, and the time taken, the number of repetitions required, the hidden law inherent in the spiritual embryo is one of the child's secrets.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 204
The laws governing the universe can be made interesting and wonderful to the child, more interesting even than things in themselves, and he begins to ask:  What am I? What is the task of man in this wonderful universe? Do we merely live here for ourselves, or is there something more for us to do? Why do we struggle and fight? What is good and evil? Where will it all end?
Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6
In the period of early childhood they are urged by nature itself to co-ordinate the movements of the hands, as is seen in their urge to touch everything, to take everything in their hands and to play with everything. The hand of the child in the "play-age" is led by life itself to lend itself to indirect preparation for writing.
Maria Montessori
The Formation of Man, p. 91
The principal agent is the object itself and not the instruction given by the teacher. It is the child who uses the objects; it is the child who is active, and not the teacher.
Maria Montessori
The Discovery of the Child, p. 150
We ourselves have lost this deep and vital sensitiveness, and in the presence of children in whom we see it reviving, we feel as if we were watching a mystery being unfolded. It shows itself in the delicate act of free choice, which a teacher untrained in observation can trample on before she even discerns it, much as an elephant tramples the budding flower about to blossom in its path.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 248
The child, in fact, once he feels sure of himself, will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step. He will go on piling up finished work of which the others know nothing, obeying merely the need to produce and perfect the fruits of his industry. What interests him is finishing his work, not to have it admired, nor to treasure it up as his own property.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 250
A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes a master of his hand and undertakes with a joy a variety of human activities.  These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration.
Maria Montessori
The San Remo Lectures, p. 27
The law of nature is order, and when order comes of itself, we know that we have re-entered the order of the universe. It is clear that nature includes among the missions she has entrusted to the child, the mission of arousing us adults to reach a higher level. The children take us to a higher plane of the spirit and material problems are thereby solved.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 261
The teacher's happy task is to show them the path to perfection, furnishing the means and removing the obstacles, beginning with those which she herself is likely to present (for the teacher can be the greatest obstacle of all). If discipline had already arrived our work would hardly be needed; the child's instinct would be a safe enough guide enabling him to deal with every difficulty.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 240
It is the child who builds up the man, the child alone. The adult cannot take his place in this work; the exclusion of the adult from the child's "world" and ”work" is still more evident and more absolute than the exclusion of the child from the work producing the social order superimposed on nature in which the adult reigns. The child's work belongs to another order and has a wholly different force from the work of the adult. Indeed one might say that the one is opposed to the other. The child’s work is done unconsciously, in abandonment to a mysterious spiritual energy, actively engaged in creation.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 200
If from the new-born baby, helpless, unconscious...unable to raise itself, comes forth the individual adult with perfected form, with a mind enriched with all the acquisitions of his psychic life, radiant with the light of the spirit, this is the child's doing.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 200
The teacher must believe that this child before her will show his true nature when he finds a piece of work that attracts him. So what must she look out for? That one child or another will begin to concentrate. To this she must devote her energies, and her activities will change from stage to stage, as in a spiritual ascent.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 252
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 pre conceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 252
The first step an intending Montessori teacher must take is to prepare herself. For one thing, she must keep her imagination alive; for while, in the traditional schools, the teacher sees the immediate behaviour of her pupils, knowing that she must look after them and what she has to teach, the Montessori teacher is constantly looking for a child who is not yet there.
Maria Montessori
The Absorbent Mind, p. 252
The little child who persists in his exercises, concentrated and absorbed, is obviously elaborating the constant man, the man of character, he who will find in himself all human values, crowning that unique fundamental manifestation: persistence in work. Whatever task the child may choose it will be all the same, provided he persists in it. For what is valuable is not the work itself, but the work as a means for the construction of the psychic man.
Man builds himself through working. Nothing can take the place of work, neither physical well-being nor affection, and, on the other hand, deviations cannot be corrected by either punishment or example. Man builds himself through working, working with his hands, but using his hands as the instruments of his ego, the organ of his individual mind and will, which shapes its own existence face to face with its environment.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 195
What...puts the child in the position of a real worker is that he does not fulfil the pattern of the man-to-be-made only through meditation and rest. No, his work is made up of activity, he creates by continual exercise. And we must clearly understand that he too uses; his outer environment for his work, the same environment that the adult uses and transforms.
Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 201
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 most wanted is no patronizing charity for humanity, but a reverent 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