Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, known for her educational method that focuses on the way children learn naturally. She opened the Casa dei Bambini in 1907, a school in one of Rome’s poorest districts. Using her keen observational skills and experience from having previously worked with children, Dr. Montessori developed the educational theory we know today as the Montessori Method.
Below you will find some of our favorite quotes by Maria Montessori. These all make our list of favorites for the same reasons: they tell us where to focus our energy as Montessori homeschoolers, they give us a clear picture of our roles as Montessori parents and they support us in our never-ending quest to follow our child through careful observation and thoughtful preparation the environment.
What does Maria Montessori say about outdoor play?
“But if for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation,” The Montessori Method: The Origins of an Educational Innovation
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature,” The Secret of Childhood
“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving,” From Childhood to Adolescence
“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength,” From Childhood to Adolescence
“Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath it's shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning as it wakes every living creature that divides its day between waking and sleeping,” The Discovery of the Child
“Modern observations and child-study have led use to realize that as soon as the child can go out of doors, we must take him with us,” The Absorbent Mind
Maria Montessori Quotes on Play
“Play is the work of the child.”
“Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world,” The Discovery of the Child
“Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves.”
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”
“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence,” The Absorbent Mind
Maria Montessori Quotes on Observation
“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing,” Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook
“Education is not something which a teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but by virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment,” The Absorbent Mind
“The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself,” The Absorbent Mind
What does Maria Montessori say about manners?
Let's face it - we all could use some help in developing our children's manners. And, it's so important. They will be judged by others based on their comfort and ease with these skills. Believe it or not, Dr. Montessori had some great quotes all about this. Let's take a look at them now.
"We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity."
“If we are among the men of good will who yearn for peace, we must lay the foundation for peace ourselves, by working for the social world of the child, “ Dr. Montessori at the International Montessori Congress, 1937
“A room in which all the children move about usefully, intelligently, and voluntarily, without committing any rough or rude act, would seem to me a classroom very well disciplined indeed,” The Montessori Method: The Origins of an Educational Innovation
“Education is the best weapon for peace,” 1937 lecture by Dr. Montessori in Copenhagen
“Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education,” Education and Peace
“A child who becomes a master of his acts through repeated exercises of grace and courtesy, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.”
Montessori Quotes for Parents
“It is interesting to notice that where life is simple and natural and where the children participate in the adult’s life, they are calm and happy,” 1946 London Lectures
“A child can only acquire the words he hears spoken around him. This is not teaching but absorption. The child is, by nature, hungry for words; he loves strange, long words like the names of dinosaurs and constellations. He takes in all these words without understanding their meaning, as his mind is still taking language in by a process of unconscious absorption,” 1946 London Lectures
“The school where the children live, or rather their country homes, can also give them the opportunity for social experience, for it is an institution organized on a larger scale and with greater freedom than the family,” From Childhood to Adolescence
“We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active,” The Absorbent Mind
“The mind takes some time to develop interest, to be set in motion, to get warmed up into a subject, to attain a state of profitable work. If at this time there is interruption, not only is a period of profitable work lost, but the interruption produces an unpleasant sensation which is identical to fatigue,” What You Should Know About Your Child
What’s your favorite Montessori quote? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!