"We can imagine an adult society organised as a constructive society on the same lines as the children's, that is on the lines if this natural society of cohesion.
Attachment to other people is the first stage which brings all men to work for a common ideal.
It would be good for men if society could be constructed like this but we cannot command this. It must come from nature.
If nature is the basis the construction will be superior, but without this basis there can only be an artificial construction which breaks down easily." The Child, Society and the World, p 24, Chap III
It is a strange thing that Montessori schools are so often criticised by others for what they see as a lack of emphasis on social development.
For Montessori saw this as possibly the most important element in her schools. Her emphasis on children being allowed the freedom to work alone and to develop concentration, did not mean that she underestimated the importance of social development.
Instead what she saw was that it was precisely because the children were allowed to work in such freedom that they then displayed their innate social cohesion. She saw that true discipline and harmony was something that came from within and was not something that could be enforced.
"The children then are orderly and have a harmonious discipline. A discipline in which each has his different interests.
It is different from the discipline of a soldier, with his forced obedience, when we all have to do the same thing at the moment. This is a social discipline and it brings people into harmony with each other." (The Child, Society and the World, p 24, Chap III).
The degree to which such young children demonstrated their innate social characteristics astonished her and made her see that this might be the key to regenerating and transforming society itself. She became a strident speaker on children's rights and the importance of freedom in educational...