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"Among the revelations the child has brought us, there is one of fundamental importance, the phenomenon of normalisation through work. Thousands and thousands of experiences among children of every race enable us to state that this phenomenon is the most certain datum verified in psychology or education. It is certain that the child's attitude towards work represents a vital instinct; for without work his personality cannot organise itself and deviates from the normal lines of its construction. Man builds himself through working. Nothing can take the place of work, neither physical well-being nor affection, and, on the other hand, deviations cannot be corrected by either punishment or example. Man builds himself through working, working with his hands, but using his hands as the instruments of his ego, the organ of his individual mind and will, which shapes its own existence face to face with its environment. The child's instinct confirms the fact that work is an inherent tendency in human nature; it is the characteristic instinct of the human race." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 195)

"... Does Nature make a difference between work and play or occupation and rest?  Watch the unending activity of the flowing stream or the growing tree.  See the breakers of the ocean, the unceasing movements of the earth, the planets, the sun and the stars.  All creation is life, movement, work.  What about our hearts, our lungs, our bloodstream which work continuously from birth till death?  Have they asked for some rest?  Not even during sleep are they inactive.  What about our mind which works without intermission while we are awake or asleep?" (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'What You Should Know About Your Child', Kalakshetra Publications, 138)

"Therefore this work which has built up civilisation and which has transformed the earth is at the very basis of life and is a fundamental part of it. So much so, that it is, as we say, even in the child. Work has existed in the nature of man as an instinct even from birth itself.... The study of society will be held to be a study of the life of the child which shows us in an embryonic stage this profound tendency of humanity and the mechanism by which society is built up." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Child’s Instinct to Work', AMI Communications, 1973, 4, 9)

"To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child's work and be able to guide it better." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Absorbent Mind', Clio Press, 135)

"But when through exceptional circumstances work is the result of an inner, instinctive impulse, then even in the adult it assumes a wholly different character. Such work is fascinating, irresistible, and it raises man above deviations and inner conflicts. Such is the work of the inventor or discoverer, the heroic efforts of the explorer, or the compositions of the artist, that is to say, the work of men gifted with such an extraordinary power as to enable them to rediscover the instinct of their species in the patterns of their own individuality. This instinct is then a fountain that bursts through the hard outer crust and rises, through a profound urge, to fall, as refreshing rain, on arid humanity. It is through this urge that the true progress of civilisation takes place." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 196)

"But the child too is a worker and a producer. If he cannot take part in the adult's work, he has his own, a great, important, difficult work indeed - the work of producing man… The child's work belongs to another order and has a wholly different force from the work of the adult. Indeed one might say that the one is opposed to the other. The child’s work is done unconsciously, in abandonment to a mysterious spiritual energy, actively engaged in creation. It is indeed a creative work; it is perhaps the very spectacle of the creation of man, as symbolically outlined in the Bible." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 200)

"Later on the children themselves will tend to become careless in the exact performance of their movements.  Their interest in developing the coordination of the muscles will begin to decline.  The mind of the child will press on, he will no longer have the same love that he had before.  His mind must move along a determined path which is independent both on his own will and that of his teacher.   Later on a sense of duty will make him persevere in doing through voluntary effort that which at a certain period he largely did through love, that is at a time when he had to create within himself new attitudes." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child', Clio Press Ltd, 88)

"The child strives to assimilate his environment and from such efforts springs the deep-seated unity of his personality. This prolonged and gradual labour is a continual process through which the spirit enters into possession of its instrument. It must continually maintain its sovereignty by its own strength, lest movement give place to inertia or become uniform and mechanical. It must continually command, so that movement, removed henceforth from the guidance of a fixed instinct, shall not lose itself in chaos. Hence a creation that is always in process of realisation, an energy always freshly constructive, the unceasing labour of spiritual incarnation. Thus the human personality forms itself by itself, like the embryo, and the child becomes the creator of the man, the father of the man." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 31)

"A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, 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." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child', Clio Press Ltd, 92)

"… when the cycle is completed, the child detaches himself from his internal concentration; refreshed and satisfied, he experiences the higher social impulses, such as desiring to make confidences and to hold intimate communion with other souls." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Advanced Montessori Method - I', Clio Press Ltd, 76)

"The satisfaction which they find in their work has given them a grace and ease like that which comes from music." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child', Clio Press Ltd, 87)

"The child of this age sets out to do a certain task, perhaps an absurd one to adult reasoning, but this matters not at all; he must carry out the activity to its conclusion.  There is a vital urge to completeness of action, and if the cycle of this urge is broken, it shows in deviations from normality and lack of purpose.  Much importance attaches now to this cycle of activity, which is an indirect preparation for future life.  All through life men prepare for the future indirectly, and it is remarked of those who have done something great that there has been a previous period of something worked for, not necessarily on the same line as the final work, but along some line there has been an intense effort which has given the necessary preparation of the spirit, and such effort must be fully expanded - the cycle must be completed.  Adults therefore should not interfere to stop any childish activity however absurd, so long as it is not too dangerous to life and limb! The child must carry out his cycle of activity." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Education for a New World', Clio Press Ltd, 45)

"This means that it is not enough to set. the child among objects in proportion to his size and strength; the adult who is to help him must have learned how to do so. If the adult, through a fatal misunderstanding, instead of helping the child to do things for himself, substitutes himself for the child, then that adult becomes the blindest and most powerful obstacle to the development of the child's psychic life. In this misunderstanding, in the excessive competition between adult work and child work, lies the first great drama of the struggle between man and his work, and perhaps the origin of all the dramas and struggles of mankind." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 208)

"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.

Fatigue also is caused by work unsuitable to the individual.  Suitable work reduces fatigue on account of the pleasure derived from the work itself.  Thus the two causes of fatigue are unsuitable work and premature interruption of work." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'What You Should Know About Your Child', Kalakshetra Publications, 135)

"But in our specially prepared environments we see them all at once fix themselves upon some task, and then their excited fantasies and their restless movements disappear altogether; a calm, serene child, attached to reality, begins to work out his elevation through work.  Normalisation has been achieved." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Secret of Childhood', Orient Longman Limited, 162)

"The child is by nature a worker, and when, by working in this special fashion, which is according to his nature, he can accomplish a great deal of work without ever feeling fatigue. When he works in this way he shows himself to be happy and by working in this way he also becomes cured of certain psychic anomalies that he had, and by curing himself of these he enters into a more natural form of life." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Child’s Instinct to Work', AMI Communications, 1973, 4, 9)

"One day some little spirit awakens; the ego of some child takes possession of some object; attention becomes fixed on the repetition of some one exercise; executive skill perfects itself; the irradiation of the child's countenance indicates that its spirit is being born anew." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'On Discipline - Reflections and Advice', AMI Communications, 1991, 4, 21)

"The reaction of the children may be described as a "burst of independence" of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these "independent" children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic.  These children seem to be precocious in their intellectual development and they demonstrate that while working harder than other children they do so without tiring themselves.  These children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying: 'Help me to do it alone!'" (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'From Childhood to Adolescence', Clio Press Ltd, 65)

"The child simply takes up an attitude of profound isolation, and the result is a strong peaceful character, radiating love on all around. Arising from this attitude are self sacrifice, unremitting work, obedience, and at the same time a joy in living, like a bright spring that sprang up among surrounding rocks, and is destined to help all living creatures around it. The result of concentration is an awakened social sense, and the teacher should be prepared for what follows: to these little newborn hearts she will be a creature beloved." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'On Discipline - Reflections and Advice', AMI Communications, 1991, 4, 22)

"At this stage the completion of an entire cycle will exercise an influence more and more far-reaching on the personality of the child. Not only is he spurred on to a work of intimate concentration immediately after his culminating effort, he preserves a permanent attitude of thought, of internal equilibrium of sustained interest in his environment. He becomes a personality who has reached a higher degree of evolution. This is the period when the child begins to be "master of himself " and enters upon that characteristic phenomenon I have called the "phenomenon of obedience". He can obey, that is, he can control his actions, and therefore can direct them in accordance with the desires of another person. He can break off a piece of work when interrupted, without becoming disorderly or showing symptoms of fatigue. Moreover, work has become his habitual attitude, and the child can no longer bear to be idle." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Advanced Montessori Method - I', Clio Press Ltd, 81)

"Now the little child who manifests perseverance in his work as the first constructive act of his psychic life, and upon this act builds up internal order, equilibrium, and the growth of personality, demonstrates, almost as in a splendid revelation, the true manner in which man renders himself valuable to the community. The little child who persists in his exercises, concentrated and absorbed, is obviously elaborating the constant man, the man of character, he who will find in himself all human values, crowning that unique fundamental manifestation: persistence in work. Whatever task the child may choose it will be all the same, provided he persists in it. For what is valuable is not the work itself, but the work as a means for the construction of the psychic man." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Advanced Montessori Method - I', Clio Press Ltd, 139)