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. »