Maria Montessori Quotes

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Maria Montessori with a group of children, 1946
Maria Montessori with a group of children, 1946. Kurt Hutton / Picture Post / Getty Images

Maria Montessori is known for her pioneering work in early childhood education. She was the first woman to receive a degree in medicine from the University of Rome.

Selected Maria Montessori Quotations

• Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world.

• It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.

• To aid life, leaving it free, however, that is the basic task of the educator.

• The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

• The world of education is like an island where people, cut off from the world, are prepared for life by exclusion from it.

• The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.

• We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait for a master.

• One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.

• If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future.

For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual's total development lags behind?

• We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration.

It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.

• Adults look upon a child as something empty that is to be filled through their own efforts, as something inert and helpless for which they must do everything, as something lacking an inner guide and in constant need of inner direction. . . . An adult who acts in this way, even though he may be convinced that he is filled with zeal, love, and a spirit of sacrifice on behalf of his child, unconsciously suppresses the development of the child's own personality.

• Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

• The word education must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child.

• It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism.

• Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

• We especially need imagination in science.

It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.

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