|Birth: ||Aug. 31, 1870, Italy|
|Death: ||May 6, 1952|
Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to qualify as a physician. She developed an interest in the diseases of children and in the needs of those said to be Ineducable. In the case of the latter she argued for the development of training for teachers along Froebelian lines and developed the principle that was also to inform her general educational program: first the education of the senses, then the education of the intellect. Maria Montessori developed a teaching program that enabled " defective " children to read and write. She sought to teach skills not by having children repeatedly try it, but by developing exercises that prepare them. these exercises would be repeated.
The success of her method then caused her to ask questions of " normal " education and the ways in which it has failed children. Maria Montessori had the chance to test her program and ideas with the establishment of the first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in Rome in 1907. This house and those that followed were designed to provide a good environment for children to live and learn. An emphasis was placed on self determination and self realization. This entailed developing a concern for others and discipline and to do this children engaged in exercises de la vie pratique (exercise in daily living). These and other exercises were to function like a ladder - allowing the child to pick up the challenge and to judge their progress. "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).
This connected with a further element in the Montessori program - decentring the teacher. the teacher was the "keeper" of the environment. While children got on with their activities the task was to observe and to intervene from the periphery. This focus on self realization through independent activity, the concern with attitude, and the focus on the educator as the keeper of the environment (and making use of their scientific powers of observation and reflection) - all have some echo in the work of informal educators. However it is Maria Montessori's notion of the Children's House as a stimulating environment in which participants can learn to take responsibility that has a particular resonance.
Maria Montessori died in The Netherlands in 1952, after a lifetime devoted to the study of child development. She left behind a son Mario who was born in 1898. She had been having a love affair with a Dr Montesano and as she didnt believe they should marry she gave Mario to a family in the country she had little contact with him in his early years but they were reunited when he turned 15 and he became her most valued assistant. Her early work centered on women's rights and social reform and evolved to encompass a totally innovative approach to education. her success in Italy led to international recognition, and for over 40 years she traveled all over the world, lecturing, writing and establishing training programs. In later years "Education for Peace" became a guiding principle, which underpinned her work.
After the 1907 establishment of Maria Montessori's first school in Rome, by 1913 there was an intense interest in her method in North America. It can now be found on six continents and throughout the United States. Maria was exiled by Mussolini mostly because she refused to compromise her principles and make the children into soldiers. She moved to Spain and lived there until 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out. She then moved to The Netherlands until 1939. During a teachers conference in India she was interned by the authorities and lived there for the duration of the war. Maria lived out the remainder of her life in The Netherlands, which now hosts the headquarters of the Association Montessori Internationale which is also a member of the International Coalition for the Decade for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence. She died in Noordwijk aan Zee Holland and is interred there. Her son Mario headed the AMI until his death in 1982.
This quote is on her headstone: " I beg the dear all powerful children to unite with me for the building of peace in man and in the world".
A big Thank you once again to Kerrie for sponsoring another memorial xoxo.
Noordwijk aan Zee
Created by: SerenityNow
Record added: Nov 28, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23147505