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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.

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
The child should love everything that he learns, for his mental and emotional growth are to be 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
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 first wanted is no patrionising charity for humanity, but a revereant 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