Maria Montessori


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

Author Quotes

The objects that are used for practical life have no scientific purpose. They are the 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. The number of these objects is not determined by our method, but depends upon the resources of a school, and especially upon the length of time that a child spends in the school each day. If the school has a garden attached to it, the care of the paths, the weeding of plants, or the gathering of ripe fruit, and so on, will make up part of a child's practical occupations. If the daily schedule is very long, dinner will also form a part of them. Of all the exercises of practical life this is the most difficult, exacting and interesting. It includes such things as setting the table with great care, serving the meals, eating properly, washing the cups and plates, and putting away pots and pans.

The study of love and its utilization will lead us to the source from which it springs, The Child.

The teacher's task is no small or easy one! He as 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.

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.

The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.

The observation of the way in which the children pass from the first disordered movements to those which are spontaneous and ordered -- this is the book of the teacher; this is the book which must inspire her actions.

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.

The teacher's task is not a small easy one! She has to prepare a huge amount of knowledge to satisfy the child's mental hunger. She is not like the ordinary teacher, limited by a syllabus. The needs of the child are clearly more difficult to answer.

There is in the soul of a child an impenetrable secret that is gradually revealed as it develops.

The infant in arms has far greater mental energies than are usually imagined.

The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!

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.

The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.

There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest.

The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.

The organization must be determined because it is necessary to develop the power of self-adjustment to the environment as it is found, and this adaptation results in cooperation and a happy social life that will facilitate individual progress. The environment must make the free choice of occupation easy, and therefore eliminate the waste of time and energy in following vague and uncertain preferences. From all this the result will be not only self-discipline but a proof that self-discipline is an aspect of individual liberty and the chief factor of success in life. A very important matter is the fundamental order in the succession of occupations during the day, and the times for the change-over. This should be experimental at first and develop into an established thing; necessities will arise and will have to be dealt with and this will tend to create an organization. But it is necessary to consider not only the active occupations but the need for solitude and quiet, which are essential for the development of the hidden treasures of the soul.

The task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity, as often happens in the case of the old-time discipline. And all this because our aim is to discipline for activity, for work, for good; not for immobility, not for passivity, not for obedience.

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 sub-phases: 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.

There is no science and no art of greater importance than that which teaches seeing, which builds sensitivity and respect for the natural world.

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.

The particular exercises of practical life which we should present to the children will vary according to circumstances, local and national. Whatever they may be, however, we can classify them broadly speaking under two heads: (a) those which have to do with care of the child's own person; and (b) those which are concerned with the care of the environment.

The teacher has too thoroughly learned to be the one free activity of the school; it has for too long been virtually her duty to suffocate the activity of her pupils. When in the first days in one of the Children's Houses she does not obtain order and silence, she looks about her embarrassed as if asking the public to excuse her, and calling upon those present to testify her innocence. In vain do we repeat to her that the disorder of the first moment is necessary. And finally, when we oblige her to do nothing but watch, she asks if she had not better resign, since she is no longer a teacher.

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.

There is... in every child a painstaking teacher, so skillful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!

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.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

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