“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, physician, anthropologist and pedagogue, studied children of all racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds for over fifty years. Her intense scientific observation of the human being from birth to maturity allowed her to distill a body of philosophical, psychological and pedagogical principles. These, together with a vast range of auto-didactic materials, came to be known as the Montessori Method of Education.
Maria Montessori was a scientist, and as a good scientist, she was earth-bound and highly spiritual in her pursuit of truth. She studied medicine, specializing in psychiatry and anthropology. She was also an outstanding mathematician. Although she would never have considered being a teacher, she studied educational methods for many years and found them wanting, possibly because none of them took into account the two seemingly paradoxical extremes which are at the centre of her pedagogy: the universal characteristics of the human child, and the child as a unique, unrepeatable, respectable and admirable individual to be unconditionally accepted as one of life’s most marvelous expressions.
“The child has to acquire physical independence by being self-sufficient; he must become of independent will by using in freedom his own power of choice; he must become capable of independent thought by working alone without interruption.
The child’s development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behavior towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practiced to perfection only when working among children.”
Dr. Maria Montessori,
‘The Absorbent Mind’