Maria Montessori

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Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 - May 6, 1952) was an Italian educator, scientist, physician, philosopher, and feminist.

  • 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."
  • Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
  • The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.
  • The man who, through his own efforts is able to perform all the actions necessary for his comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in doing so multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual.
  • “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.” (Montessori, 1949, Ch. 1)
  • “We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.” (Montessori, 1949, Ch. 1)
  • "But rewards and punishments, to speak frankly, are the desk of the soul, that is, a means of enslaving a child's spirit, and better suited to provoke than to prevent deformities." (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Ch. 1)
  • "This then is the first duty of an educator: to stir up life but leave it free to develop." (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Ch.7)
  • "The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task." (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Ch.7)
  • "Adults have not understood children or adolescents and they are, as a consequence, in continual conflict with them. The remedy is not that adults should gain some new intellectual knowledge or achieve a higher standard of culture. No, they must find a different point of departure. The adult must find within himself the still unknown error that prevents him from seeing the child as he is." (Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, Ch.2)
  • "If a child finds no stimuli for the activities which would contribute to his development, he is attracted simply to 'things' and desires to posses them." (Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, Ch. 23)

On Maria Montessori

  • If a teacher can discern what a child is trying to do in his informational interaction with the environment, and if that teacher can have on hand materials relevant to that intention, if he can impose a relevant challenge with which the child can cope, supply a relevant model for imitation, or pose a relevant question the child can answer, that teacher can call forth the kind of accommodative change that constitutes psychological development or growth.
    • Joseph McVicker Hunt, Introduction to Maria Montessori