This quote from Dr. Maria Montessori lays out the foundation of her approach to children and learning. By saying that “education is a natural process” Dr. Montessori is relating the education of a person to the development of all living organisms: taking from the surrounding environment and building something up from that. So education is not a man-made thing, it is not artificial, it is just what nature intends.
Learning is the process. It is what happens when you engage with your environment. This approach creates a perspective on education that is broader than the conventional one. Education, for Dr. Montessori, is everything which serves life.
In the quote Dr. Montessori goes on to say that the process is “carried out by the child”, which illuminates another key aspect of her understanding: that the child is the active part of the process, not the adult. Education is “self-construction” for Dr. Montessori, it is nothing more than the making of the mature individual who will one day emerge. This is the work that the child undertakes and it is the work of the child. No one else can do this for the child because this work is internal.
In Montessori environments children work freely and with purpose and self-direction on matters that are critical to their development. The learning that takes place is deep, personal and integrated.