"Rewards and punishments are ... the worst enemies of the natural development of the child. The jockey gives sugar to his horse before the race, but applies spurs and the whip when there is lagging. Still, do any of these methods induce the animal to run as swiftly and as superbly as the horse of the plains?" Maria Montessori, 1915
“If we wish to achieve peace and mutual understanding, we must start at the moment of birth…” Maria Montessori
Sometimes the good intentions of wealthy parents, like expensive toys and on-demand nannies, only handicap the very children they’re trying to make happy.
“When a grownup thinks of work, he thinks of doing something as a means to an end — spending his days in an office for the sake of a salary — but a child’s work is based on doing things for their own sake.” Maria Montessori
“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” Maria Montessori
“Let us say it straight out — the child wants to do everything all by himself.” Maria Montessori
During a lecture in London, 1946, the educator Maria Montessori told the audience that “progress is not linear.” Here’s to embracing both the ups and downs of genuine growth, in children and in ourselves.
“The purpose of education must be to elevate the individual.” Maria Montessori
“Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining …” Maria Montessori
“In our system we obviously have a different concept of discipline. The discipline that we are looking for is active. We do not believe that one is disciplined only when he is artificially made as silent as a mute and as motionless as a paralytic. Such a one is not disciplined but annihilated.” Maria Montessori
"Let the teacher not lose sight of the fact that the goal sought is not an immediate one - not the hike - but rather to make the spiritual being which she is educating capable of finding his way by himself.” Maria Montessori
“…the child is all motion. He moves hither and thither to raise us far above the earth.” Maria Montessori
This is Maria Montessori's grave, located in the small seaside village of Noordwijk, Netherlands, where she passed away. Her tombstone reads ~"I beg the dear, all-powerful children to join me in creating peace in man and in the world."
“Insatiable at this age is the child’s thirst for words, and inexhaustible his capacity for learning them." Maria Montessori
“The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for his own acts, or to be the master of his own force of will is recognizable in the adult who lets others guide him and feels a constant need for the approval of others.” Maria Montessori
"Within the child lies the fate of the future." Maria Montessori
“The child developing harmoniously and the adult improving himself at his side make a very exciting and attractive picture.” Maria Montessori
A note from Maria Montessori on bringing the child out into the world...
“[F]rom the depths of the child’s soul we can draw something new, something useful for all of us, some light that would clarify the obscure causes of human behavior.” Maria Montessori, The Formation of Man
What Maria Montessori describes as "the fundamental fact which led me to define my method."
“All the older ones become heroes and teachers, and the tinies are their admirers.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
For America's Independence Day, here is a wonderful story of a child's personal independence, told by Maria Montessori's first American pupil.
“The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind. Little he cares about the knowledge of others; he wants to acquire a knowledge of his own, to have experience of the world, and to perceive it by his own unaided efforts.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
"To have found one-fourth of the answer to his own question by his own effort is of more value to the child than to learn it all, half-understood, from another." Friedrich Fröbel, 19th-century educator
Maria Montessori is known primarily for her work with children, but she had tremendous insight into adults, too — such as her guidance on developing "a friendly feeling towards error".
"You see this tiny cube — watch it — for it is a great temptation to the children and it does disappear." Maria Montessori, London 1948
“Little children are very happy to see their mothers looking beautiful and admire them sincerely.” Maria Montessori
Children in Montessori classrooms often spontaneously help one another, just as the late Montessori biographer E.M. Standing affectionately describes witnessing here...
“The best thing to offer to children is a loving relationship. This never changes throughout life: human love is a basic necessity." Dr. Silvana Montanaro
"When the child has come to understand something it is not the end, but only the beginning." Maria Montessori