Maria Montessori


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

Author Quotes

The teacher knows the fundamental symptoms and the obvious remedies - the theory, in fact, of treatment, and then it is she who does the rest. The good doctor, like the good teacher, is an individual, not merely a machine for administering medicine or applying educational methods. Details must be left to the judgment of the teacher who is taking her first steps on the new path, as for instance whether general disorder is best quelled by raising the voice, or whether it is best to whisper to a few of the children so as to rouse the curiosity of others and make them quiet.

The undisciplined child enters into discipline by working in the company of others; not being told he is naughty.? ?Discipline is, therefore, primarily a learning experience and less a punitive experience if appropriately dealt with.

There was no method to be seen, what was seen was a child... acting according to its own nature.

The first step we must take in our method is to call to the pupil. We call now to his attention, now to his interior life, now to the life he leads with others.

The material, in fact, do not offer to the child the content of the mind, but the order for that content.

The reaction of the children may be described as a burst of independence of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these independent children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic. These children seem to be precocious in their intellectual development and they demonstrate that while working harder than other children they do so without tiring themselves. These children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying: 'Help me to do it alone!'

The teacher must bring not only the capacity, but the desire to observe.

The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies hidden in the child.

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.

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.

The mind of one who does not work for that which he needs, but commands it from others, grows heavy and sluggish.

The real preparation for education is a study of one's self. The training of the teacher... is something far more than a learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.

The teacher must derive not only the capacity, but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. In our system, she must become a passive, much more than an active, influence, and her passivity shall be composed of anxious scientific curiosity and of absolute respect for the phenomenon which she wishes to observe. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon.

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.

Therefore this work which has built up civilization and which has transformed the earth is at the very basis of life and is a fundamental part of it. So much so, that it is, as we say, even in the child. Work has existed in the nature of man as an instinct even from birth itself... The study of society will be held to be a study of the life of the child which shows us in an embryonic stage this profound tendency of humanity and the mechanism by which society is built up.

One of the great problems facing men is their failure to realize the fact that a child possesses an active psychic life even when he cannot manifest it.

Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.

Since adults have no concept of the importance of physical activity for the child, they put a damper on it as a cause of disturbance.

The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task.

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.

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?, by Sir Percy Nunn.

The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.

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.

Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.

Since it is through movement that the will realizes itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into action.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

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