Like a spiritual caddisworm

E. M. Standing, Maria Montessori, her life and work, Plume Book, 1998, p. 104.

The young explorer is never idle, because he is looking in the world to find himself– reflected in a mirror with a thousand facets. That is why everything attracts him. Whilst he is examining the objects in the world around him, he is- as it were- stealing from them their qualities- their shapes, surfaces, textures, their colours, weight, sizes, uses, composition, and so forth.

These he mysteriously builds into himself (like a spiritual caddisworm) and with them constructs his mental being. Thus — touching, handling, moving, comparing , contrasting, arranging, rearranging, opening and shutting, breaking asunder and putting together — the work goes on. These miniature scientists are forever prying into everything, « taking upon themselves the mystery of things, as if they were God’s spies. »