“Education between the ages of six and twelve is not a direct continuation of that which has gone before, although it is built upon that foundation.
Psychologically there is a decided change in personality (within the child), and we recognize that nature has made this a period for the acquisition of culture, just as the former was for the absorption of environment.
We are confronted with a considerable development of consciousness … and there is an unusual demand on the part of the child to know the reason (why things work or why things are the way they are).
The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.
We do not want complacent pupils but eager ones. We seek to sow life in the child rather than theories, to help her in her growth, mental and emotional as well as physical and for that we must offer grand and lofty ideas to the human mind.
If the idea of the universe is presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest. It will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying.
But if neglected during this period, or frustrated in its vital needs, the mind of the child becomes artificially dulled, and henceforth will resist imported knowledge.
Interest will no longer be present if the seeds of learning are sown too late, but at six, children receive all items of culture enthusiastically. As the child grows older, these seeds will expand and grow. How many seeds should we sow? My answer is: ‘As many as possible!’”
~ Dr. Maria Montessori