Nature in Education

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Maria Montessori, in an excerpt from the forthcoming Nature in Education, originally written in 1913: "The importance of nature in the devleoplment of the physical and intellectual life is all the more significant to us in the method which I promote, because when a child has been prepared to observe the environment by means of the didactic material we give him, the intellect of that child is largely formed. And one of the aims and forms of education, as offered withint hte scope of the method which I expound, is that of guiding a child, indirectly, to know how to observe to the greatest poissible degree, and then to wait for the subsequent spontaneous manifestations. Contrary to others who make use of nature in order to form the inner life of a child, we do not wish to teach the child too directly to observe nature. We leave children to observe by themselves and only try to give them the means and the capacity to observe, and whwen we see that they are not yet able to observe natural facts, we do not make them, although we do continue our work which should turn them into observers. When children succeed in being interested in and in observing the phenomena of nature of their own accord, then we may be certain that nature will have a great influence on children themselves."