This is the period in which discipline becomes established: a form of active peace, of obedience and love, when work is perfected and multiplied, just as when the flowers in spring get their colors and prepare a distant harvest of sweet and nourishing fruit.
Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.
There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important part of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when a man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. But not only his intelligence; the full totality of his psychic powers.
The child has other powers than ours, and the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything.
It may be said that that we acquire knowledge by using our minds; but the child absorbs knowledge directly into his psychic life.
Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants — doing nothing but live and walk about — came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning; would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning.
But in those countries where the toy making industry is less advanced, you will find children with quite different tastes. They are also calmer, more sensible and happy. Their one idea is to take part in the activities going on about them. They are more like ordinary folk, using and handling the same things as the grown-ups.
The roots of every plant seek out, from among the many substances which the soil contains, only those which they need.
She (the directress) understands and believes that the children must be free to choose their own occupations just as they must never be interrupted in their spontaneous activities. No work may be imposed – no threats, no rewards, no punishments.
Our task is to show the way to discipline. Discipline is born when the child concentrates his attention on some objects that attracts him and provides him not only with a useful exercise but with a control of error.