Dr. Maria Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. He must do it for himself or it will never be done. A truly dedicated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in the classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge. Dr. Montessori felt, therefore, that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate his own natural desire to learn.
In the Montessori classroom, this objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by his own choice rather than by being forced; and second, by helping him to perfect all his natural tools for learning, so that his ability will be at a maximum in future learning situations. The Montessori materials have this dual long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.
"When we took the personality of the child into account in and of itself and offered it full scope to develop in our school, where we constructed an environment that answered the needs of his spiritual development, he revealed to us a personality entirely different from the one we had previously taken into consideration... With his passionate love of order and work, the child gave evidence of intellectual powers vastly superior to what they were presumed to be. It is obvious that in traditional systems of education the child instinctively resorts to dissemblance in order to conceal his capabilities and conform to the expectations of the adults who suppress him."
– Maria Montessori [1870 - 1952]