These are some of my favorite quotes by Maria Montessori:
From The Secret of Childhood
"Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas."
"The children were truly converted. They passed from a state of grief to happiness. They were freed from numerous, deep-seated defects. But there was also something more. Certain traits which are commonly esteemed also disappeared. In dazzling fashion these children showed that men have erred and must be completely renewed."
"Within the child lies the fate of the future. Whoever wishes to confer some benefit on society must preserve him from deviations and observe his natural ways of acting. A child is mysterious and powerful and contains within himself the secret of human nature."
From The Montessori Method
"Instead of all this, we must know how to call the man which lies dormant within the soul of the child. I felt this, intuitively, and believed that not the didactic material, but my voice which called to them, awakened the children, and encouraged them to use the didactic material, and through it, to educate themselves."
"To stimulate life, - leaving it then free to develop, to unfold, - herein lies the first take to the educator. In such a delicate task, a great art must suggest the moment, and limit the intervention, in order that we shall arouse no perturbation, cause no deviation, but rather that we shall help the soul which is coming into the fulness of life, and and which shall live from its own forces. This art must accompany the scientific method."
From Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
"The child must possess within himself, from birth, a capacity - only a potential at first - of abstracting or taking off from particular things their essential qualities. If you watch carefully any small child, of one to two years old, you will see that he is not only interested in objects as a whole, but also in their qualities, such as roughness, smoothness, hardness, softness, colour, taste, texture, weight, pliability, and so on."
From The Absorbent Mind
"This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them to a single centre. Mothers, fathers, politicians: all must combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide."
"When mental development is under discussion, there are many who say, 'How does movement come into it? We are talking about the mind.' And when we think of intellectual activity, we always imagine people sitting still, motionless. But mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it. It is vital that educational theory and practice should be informed by that idea."
From The Advanced Montessori Method
"I would therefore initiate teachers into the observation of the most simple forms of living things, which all those aids which science gives; I would make them microscopists; I would give them a knowledge of the cultivation of plants and train them to observe their physiology; I would direct their observation to insects, and would make them study the general laws of biology. And I would not have them concerned with theory alone, but would encourage them to work independently in laboratories and in the bosom of free Nature."