"Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities. When should such education begin? Our answer is that the greatness of human personality begins at birth, an affirmation full of practical reality, however strikingly mystic."
Maria Montessori, Education for a New World
As Italy's first female doctor, Maria Montessori's work in medicine led to her deep interest in child development. Over the course of her life, Montessori studied all races and cultures, and through her unbiased and keen observation skills came to understand that the child under the age of six hold a very special power. Within this young child is the possibility of a new, more peaceful humanity.
Through observing the young child Montessori discovered this power, The Absorbent Mind, with which the child from birth to six years old is absorbing and retaining every aspect of what they experience, effortlessly.
With the absorbent mind, each of us acquires the attitude and behavior of the group in which we live and interact. Culture, language, and even the way we move our bodies are all learned during the first six years of life.
From conception to three years old the child's developing mind is in the state of the unconscious, meaning that the child is totally unaware of the incredible learning taking place in every moment. The child under three years naturally and without effort explores, orients, creates order, communicates, repeats, corrects errors, and develops self-control - all because of the powers of this absorbent mind phase.
By embracing the unconscious absorbent mind, and coming to an awareness of its incredible power, we may see the child truly blossom.
In her work, Montessori strove for education for peace, nominated in 1949, 1950 & 1951 for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her legacy lives on across the globe, with schools on 6 continents and thousands of children from birth through high school and beyond, benefiting from her pedagogy.
"I beg the dear all-powerful children to unite with me for the building of peace in Man and in the World."
Maria Montessori, 1870-1952
To read more about Montessori and her work click here.