“Localized states of maturity must first be established, and the effort to force a child’s natural development can only do harm. It is nature that directs. Everything depends on her and her exact commands… In nature’s language, create does not just mean make something; it means that what has been made must be allowed to function.”
Adult Ideas of Freedom and Independence vs. The Child’s
In conclusion, the significance is that the work of building independence yields a needful benefit for the whole of society. Independence is not a static condition for the individual. It is how the child or adult perfects their own powers, which must be the result of ongoing effort. For society, independence is a critical component of freedom in a democratic society, where individuals conceive of themselves as an interdependent community of independent individuals. As a reflection, society cannot function without the ongoing development of each of the members. The ongoing effort as an adult is a willed choice toward toil, to evolve ourselves to a higher plane of development.
This must be the focus from the child’s birth. It may seem like birth is too early a time to focus on independence, but in Dr. Montessori’s words, “When does the child need to be able to do things without help? The answer is simple. From the beginning of life, from the first moment he is capable of doing things. The urge is revealed again and again by the child. We have so often heard children of a few years of age say, ‘Help me to do it myself.’ By helping the child to do things by himself you are helping the independence of the child.” As our method is education for life, we have no choice but to focus all of our activity as educators on the ultimate goal of building conditions which allowing a child to build more independence, resulting in a society of individuals attracted to the work of self-development and self-perfection, ultimately leading a more free society of thinkers and workers on the whole.