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When we observe a child’s freedom, we cannot do it exactly the same way that we observe the growth of plants and insects. A child, because of his inherent weakness at birth and his status as a member of society, is surrounded by fetters which limit his activity. A system of education that is based on liberty ought to aim at assisting a child in obtaining it, and it should have as its specific aim the freeing of the child from those ties which limit its spontaneous manifestations. Little by little, as a child proceeds along this way, he will freely manifest himself with greater clarity and truth and thus reveal his own proper nature.

Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child