Maria Montessori

Maria
Montessori
1870
1952

Italian Educator, Physician and Humanitarian, Creator of the Montessori Method

Author Quotes

This kind of activity (climbing, carrying etc.), which serves no external purpose, gives children the practice they need for coordinating their movements? all the child does is to obey an inner impulse.

To stimulate life, - leaving it then free to develop, to unfold, - herein lies the first take to the educator. In such a delicate task, a great art must suggest the moment, and limit the intervention, in order that we shall arouse no perturbation, cause no deviation, but rather that we shall help the soul which is coming into the fullness of life, and which shall live from its own forces. This art must accompany the scientific method.

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. Our teaching must only answer the mental needs of the child, never dictate them. Just as a small child cannot be still because he is in need of coordinating his movements, so the older child, who may seem troublesome in his curiosity over the why, what and wherefore of everything he sees, is building up his mind by this mental activity, and must be given a wide field of culture on which to feed.

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 center of himself with all things.

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. 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.

Under the urge of nature and according to the laws of development, though not understood by the adult, the child is obliged to be serious about two fundamental things ? the first is the love of activity? The second fundamental thing is independence.

We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline and self-control develops within them as a manifestation of their total freedom.

We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master. 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 mold the future of mankind.

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 thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations.

Wait while observing. That is the motto of the educator.

We may conclude with a general rule for the direction of the education of the senses. The order of procedure should be: (1) Recognition of identities (the pairing of similar objects and the insertion of solid forms into places which fit them). (2) Recognition of contrasts (the presentation of the extremes of a series of objects). (3) Discrimination between objects very similar to one another.

Through practical exercises of this sort 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.

Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements.

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.

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. Between these two periods, the unconscious period and the one which follows it of conscious development, there seems to be a well-marked boundary.

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.

We must help the child act, think, and will for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practiced to perfection only when working with children.

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.

We are here to offer to this life, which came into the world by itself, the means necessary for its development, and having done that we must await this development with respect.

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.

To aid life, leaving it free, however, that is the basic task of the educator.

We are not here to teach the child, we are here only to assist the child in learning.

We must learn how to call upon the man which lies dormant in the soul of a child.

To assist a child we must provide him with an environment, which will enable him to develop freely.

We cannot create observers by saying 'observe,' but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.

Author Picture
First Name
Maria
Last Name
Montessori
Birth Date
1870
Death Date
1952
Bio

Italian Educator, Physician and Humanitarian, Creator of the Montessori Method