Education that consists mostly of direct teaching often impedes rather than helps natural human development. The early years are useless for the transmission of culture; therefore the first part of life is disregarded. But those apparently useless years are most fundamental, for during that period an astounding phenomenon takes place: the creation of a human psyche and the development of human behavior. The child learns to function independently, to manipulate, to walk, to talk, to think and to direct himself through his will. The process takes place not because adults teach but because the child creates.
…Man is not made of culture alone; there is something much more essential. If this part continues to be disregarded and emphasis put only on culture, the more advanced man becomes, the more dangerous he will be. Man has discovered flight, he has discovered atomic energy, but he has failed to discover himself…” (Montessori, 1966, ix-x).
Montessori, Maria. (1966). The Secret of Childhood. New York: Ballantine Books, ix-x.
A powerful assertion. The only thing I disagree with and will challenge is the notion that the early years are useless for the transmission of culture.