Real freedom […] is a consequence of development; it is the development of latent guides, aided by education. Development is active. It is the construction of the personality, reached by effort and one’s own experiences; it is the long road which every child must travel to attain maturity.
Anyone can dominate and repress the weak and subdued; but no on can cause another to develop. Development cannot be taught.
If freedom is understood as letting the children do as they like, using or more likely misusing, the things available, it is clear that only their “deviations” are free to develop; their abnormalities will increase. […]
Normalization comes about through “concentration” on a piece of work. For this we must provide “motives for activity” so well adapted to the child’s interests that they provoke his deep attention.
The essential thing is for the task to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.
– Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind (206)