Dr. Montessori recognized that self-motivation is the only valid impulse to learning. She understood the need to acquire basic skills before participating in a competitive learning situation. The years between 2 and 6 are not only the prime time for laying down an academic foundation, but most importantly, the years when a child learns the ground rules of human behavior most easily. These are the years to help a child in preparing to take his/her place in society through the acquisition of good habits and manners.
To the child, the world appears chaotic. From this chaos the child gradually creates order and learns to distinguish among the impressions which assail the senses, thus slowly gaining mastery of self and the environment.