The Child, Society and the World - by Maria Montessori



my notes:

Children live in a world of their own interests, and the work they do there must be respected, for though many childish activities may seem pointless to adults nature is using them for her own ends. She is building mind and character as well as bone and muscle.

A child without a secret becomes an adult without a personality.

So long as a child is actively interested in what it is doing and there is no harm in its little activity, it is definitely at work on its own development. Besides any new idea it may be grasping, it is building for itself concentration and self-discipline.

A child doesn’t know why it is interested in a particular object or movement at a particular moment - the important thing is that it IS interested.

The child can no more give an account of the working s of its mind than it can account for its own bodily growth.

Our part is to give help when asked.

The teacher must understand that the environment belongs to the children.

The thing that is lacking in society is a place for children where they are not repressed, where they have some means of development.

If correction is necessary, give it indirectly at another time, never at the moment of rap concentration.

Nothing matters while the child is still deviated, everything will correct itself after concentration has come.

The father should not order the activities of his family, but all should act harmoniously together.

In society, each person chooses their work, each must do different things but all must work in harmony.

Obedience must come from the formation of an individual. Otherwise it is a repression.

If a child has no patience he cannot understand what we want if we preach it to him.

Character formation cannot be taught. It comes from experience and not from explanations.

Mental starvation is a characteristic of most little children today. 

Children are sent to us as a rain of souls, as a wealth and a promise that can always be fulfilled.

It is much more important that the child should be able to carry out observations which help his inner construction than for him to eat hot soup.

It is natural for the mind to go towards abstractions.

It is not difficult to give greatness to little children for they are great in everything.

Language and religion are the two characteristics of every group of men.

No place is too sacred for children.

We must not mix the teaching of morals and the giving of religion.

Do what you like about Father Christmas, he passes away, but if you lie in real religious things you offend the child’s soul.

If truth is necessary it is for the innocent, for those who have not had experiences for themselves, who rely on more mature minds.  They must be given confidence because they have not had sufficient experience to know for themselves.

A child’s soul is like a bright mirror on which any breath can cast a shadow.

We live in a narrow environment and if we only take from this environment, our intelligence will be very poor. We must take knowledge in such a fashion that it will give something more.

Those poor children who must sit in school listening to boring facts and reasons, who have to memorize them, can have only a low power of mind. These schools are mortuaries for theming of man. These children will have dead mutilated minds.

Whatever we want children to do, we must teach them.

The human individual cannot develop without a social life.

Today we need a positive contribution toward the betterment of the human soul. There must be a mental and moral hygiene towards which family, school and city all make a contribution. This will be the progress of civilization.

If we are to make better conditions for the children we must consider the parents.

If we are to have better humanity the adults must be better. They must be less proud, think less of themselves, be less dictatorial. The adults must look at themselves and say “Yes, I understand this problem.”
If you have given children freedom and a good environment and they are still disorderly, then you must pray to god to help you, because then these hurt children cannot be helped without a miracle.

Men are urged to work by a need which is higher than the instinct of self-preservation, and a man who no longer works for himself or for his family is a man who does the great work of the world.

Fear starts when we can’t convince ourselves of its cause.

What distinguishes man is that he has NO limits and can adapt himself to anything. It is strange that although man is the being with the greatest possibilities he is the one who remains the longest inert.

We must not just see the child, but God in him. We must respect the laws of creation in him. We must not think we can make him; if we do, we are spoiling the Divine work.

We have to further the divine work but not substitute ourselves for it, otherwise we become seducers of nature.

Education must be organized as all the sciences have.

Children must experience social life through living, through experience, before they enter it with all the many forms of mechanisms that control it.

Life progresses according to a cosmic plan and the purpose of life is not to achieve perfection along an unlimited line of progress but to exercise influence and to achieve a definite aim upon the environment.

It is necessary that the new generations realize that in this union every man is dependent on other men and each must contribute to the existence of all.

This concept resembles that of some religions.


Montessori -Pierson Publishing Company, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2008