"We discovered that education is not something which the teacher [or parent] does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which a child acts on his environment. The teacher's [or parent's] task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child. If the teacher [or parent] does less than is necessary, the child can not act meaningfully, and if she does more than is necessary, she imposes herself on the child, extinguishing his creative impulses."
If our role as parent/educator is not to teach the young child directly, what then does Montessori believe our role to be? At Harmony, we work to provide an environment that is stimulating and motivating for young children, where they can make discoveries on their own. This is most effectively accomplished when clear rules and expectations have been set in place. Once a child understands the limits and boundaries, he is free to play, explore and learn according to his own intrinsic sense of wonder. Our role then becomes that of careful observer, stepping in only to provide support when needed and to reinforce or adapt boundaries as children grow.
Lillard, Angeline Stoll. Montessori: Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press. 2005.