Maria Montessori

Maria
Montessori
1870
1952

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

Author Quotes

The needs of mankind are universal. Our means of meeting them create the richness and diversity of the planet. The Montessori child should come to relish the texture of that diversity.

The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world.

The teacher of children up to six years of age knows that she has helped mankind in an essential part of its formation. She may know nothing of the children's circumstances, except what they have told her freely in conversation; possibly she takes no interest in their future: whether they will go on to secondary schools and the university, or end their studies sooner; but she is happy in the knowledge that in this formative period they were able to do what they had to do. 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.'

There can be no substitute for work; neither affection nor physical well-being can replace it.

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 center. 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.

The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.

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.

The shop would also necessitate a genuine study of commerce and exchange, of the art of ascertaining the demand and being ready to meet it, of the strict and rigid rules of bookkeeping. But the thing that is important above everything else is that the adolescent should have a life of activity and variety, and that one occupation should act as a holiday from another occupation. The shop would be in respect to the studies of economics and politics an educational object, similar to the aquarium or terrarium in the case of the study of biology.

The teacher's first duty is to watch over the environment, and this takes precedence over all the rest. Its influence is indirect, but unless it is well done there will be no effective and permanent results of any kind, physical, intellectual or spiritual.

There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.

The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth. From this almost mystic affirmation there comes what may seem a strange conclusion: that education must start from birth.

The novelty lies, perhaps, in my idea for the use of this open-air space, which is to be in direct communication with the schoolroom, so that the children may be free to go and come as they like, throughout the entire day.

The studies which have been made of early infancy leave no room for doubt: the first two years are important forever, because in that period, one passes from being nothing into being something.

The teacher's mission has for its aim something constant and exact, bearing in mind the words, "He must grow while I diminish."

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!

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.

Psychologists who have studied children's growth from birth to University age maintain that this can be divided into various and distinct periods.

Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking 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. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.

The child has other powers than ours, and the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything.

The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind.

The child's progress does not depend only on his age, but also on being free to look around him.

The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child?s whole personality.

Our aim in education in general is twofold, biological and social. From the biological side we wish to help the natural development of the individual, from the social standpoint it is our aim to prepare the individual for the environment?All education of little children must be governed by this principle ? to help the natural psychic and physical development of the child? The functions to be established by the child fall into two groups: 1) the motor functions by which he is to secure his balance and learn to walk, and to coordinate his movements; 2) the sensory functions through which, receiving sensations from his environment, he lays the foundations of his intelligence by a continual exercise of observation, comparison and judgment. In this way he gradually comes to be acquainted with his environment and to develop his intelligence.

Real freedom is a consequence of development.

Swaddling clothes have for many centuries been considered necessary to the new-born babe, walking-chairs to the child who is learning to walk. So in the school, we still believe it necessary to have heavy desks and chairs fastened to the floor. All these things are based upon the idea that the child should grow in immobility, and upon the strange prejudice that, in order to execute any educational movement, we must maintain a special position of the body;?as we believe that we must assume a special position when we are about to pray.

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