The following is the text from this section of the 2009-2010 edition of The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three
To see other sections of this publication return to: http://www.michaelolaf.com/JCcontents.html
It is not enough for the teacher to restrict herself
to loving and understanding the child; she must first love and understand
Maria Montessori, MD
An interest in and love for astronomy and geology, sand and water, and
all of science begins early. The first lessons come from natureexperiences
of the sun and wind, playing in sand and water and mud, seeing the sun
rise and set, watching the stars at night, visiting the seashore, and
the childs own collections of rocks and minerals.
First we give the child the rocks, sand, water, mud, oceans, clouds, stars,
lakes, and so forth; and then we give the names. All of this experience
and knowledge leads to a natural concern and responsibility at a later
age because children love what they know.
I live in heaven. My home is a
sphere that turns around the sun.
It is called Earth.
Dr. Maria Montessori
What is God?
He is length, width, height and depth.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
The foundation of a love of math comes not from rote lessons, but from
joyful experience in seeing shapes and objects, in exploration with hands,
and in moving through space. The formation of the mathematical mind, which
will last a lifetime, comes from early, simple, everyday activitiescollecting,
counting, sorting, putting things in order, classifying, comparing sizes
and colors, carrying heavy objects by hand or in a wheelbarrow, setting
the table, and discovering relationships and patterns through these activities.
In the past, mathematical relationships were wondrous miracles, and so
they are still for the young child who is discovering them for the first
time. It is a joy for the adult to stand back and observe these discoveries
as the child makes them.
Reciting one, two, three, four, five, and so on, is fun for a child, but
not nearly so exciting as discovering that these words stand for quantities
of anythingbuttons, peas, spoons, family members, stars in the skyand
the realization that these concepts are used and understood all over the
If men had only used speech to communicate their thought, if their
wisdom had been expressed in words alone, no traces would remain of past
generations. It is thanks to the hand, the companion of the mind, that
civilization has arisen. The hand has been the organ of this great gift
that we inherit.
Dr. Maria Montessori
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