The Forgotten Citizen

In I947 Maria Montessori wrote a letter which she sent to all governments. Excerpts from this letter are printed below.

"My life has been spent in the research of truth. Through the study of children I have scrutinised human nature at its origin both in the East and the West and although it is forty years now since I began my work, childhood still seems to me an inexhaustible source of revelations and---let me say---hope.

Childhood has shown me that all humanity is one. All children talk, no matter what their race or their circumstances or their family, more or less at the same age; they walk, change their teeth, etc. at certain fixed periods of their life. In other aspects also, especially in the psychical field, they are just as similar, just as susceptible.

Children are the constructors of men whom they build, taking from the environment language, religion, customs and the peculiarities not only of the race, not only of the nation, but even of a special district in which they develop.

...The child is the forgotten citizen, and yet, if statesmen and educationists once came to realise the terrific force that is in childhood ..., I feel they would give it priority above everything else. All problems of humanity depend on man himself; if man is disregarded in his construction, the problems will never be solved.

...Man must be cultivated from the beginning of life when the great powers of nature are at work. It is then that one can hope to plan for a better international understanding."