The Child in the Family - by Maria Montessori

my notes:

No social problem is as universal as the oppression of the child.

The child who does not function socially is one who functions solely as an appendage of an adult.

No-one sees in the newborn child the human being who suffers.

The helpless infant is an enigma. The only thing we know about him is that he could be anything, but nobody knows what he will be or what he will do.

Pride is the worst sin of man, and his elevation of himself to divine status has been the cause of great suffering to his descendants. 

No adult can become a teacher of love without a special effort, without opening the eyes of his consciousness in order to see a world more vast than his own.

The one who creates is the child; we do not. It is no easy matter to make this clear, for in the popular mind it is the adult who creates the new life. What must happen, therefore, is a kind of purification, whereby we liberate ourselves of the unseemly illusion of our omnipotence.

Do not erase the designs the child makes in the soft wax of his inner life. This is the greatest responsibility for the adult who educates the child who is in the process of constructing himself.

The environment itself will teach the child, if every little error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens.

No one can help us to achieve the intimate isolation by which we find our secret worlds, so mysterious, rich and full.

The most difficult thing to make clear to the new teacher is that because the child progresses, she must restrain herself and avoid giving directions, even if at first they are expected; she must understand well that she must exert no influence on either the formation, or the discipline, of her pupil, but that all her faith must repose in his latent powers.

Obedience is nothing more than a form of spiritual dexterity that presupposes internal equilibrium.

The most important is to respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and to try to understand them.

Real help must not be offered for useless or arbitrary things; it must correspond to the efforts of the child’s spirit. It must be predicated upon an understanding of the child’s nature and respect for his instinctive activity.

In our schools, the environment itself teaches the children.