LONDON MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL (PVT) LTD
Dr. Maria Montessori – Lady of the Millennium
Dr. Maria Montessori is one of the great pioneering figures of 20th Century education, a women of enormously strong character, intelligence, charisma, brilliant, original educator, physician and above all a great human-being born in Italy on 31st. August, 1870. She never wanted to be a teacher but God had to take the noble work & high task out of her. World can see now that her teachings are being followed in every part of the world even 48 years after her death. She spent 56-years researching and teaching what she used to learn from the CHILD. She always said “Children are teaching me”
Soon after her becoming first woman Physician (1896), she had an opportunity to work with handicapped children. Working on the lines of French Scientists Itard & Seguin she achieved startling results and the children under her tutelage passed the State examination in Reading & Writing for normal children.
Dr. Montessori concluded that similar methods might also be successfully applied to young normal children. This was the spirit which forced her to keep back her medical profession and entered into the pedagogical & research profession.
She returned to the Rome University (from where she got her medical degree), for academic work in educational philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology which she under took with such distinction that in 1904, she was appointed ?Professor of Anthropology?. At the same time she continued to study Childhood nervous conditions and published her findings in medical journals.
In 1907, an opportunity came for her to begin to work with ordinary, shy, tearful, poor children in slum area of Sanlorenzo in Italy. She began to use the same teaching techniques which she used with mentally retarded children few years back. She found that the children:
-enjoyed the exercises, but they preferred to do them independently
-some material they accepted enthusiastically and some they left untouched.
-began to show a kind of inner calmness.
-able to concentrate contentedly for very long periods of time.
-quickly absorbed complex skills and sophisticated knowledge.
-developed a self-discipline which relieved any need for external authority.
-dealing with adults and other children began to show great thoughtfulness compassion and understanding.
-focused on their own inner thoughts and purposes.
All Montessori Teaching Courses materials that built upon the principles of the earlier ones. Thus Dr. Montessori developed Montessori method which grew purely on the basis of what the children showed her about themselves. All activity was grounded in the practice of teaching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. This process of educating the senses becomes the basis of the Montessori Method. It was not until much later, after two decades of working with young children and sensitively observing them, that Dr. Maria Montessori began to tie her observations together in the form of Theories. The theories about development and learning and about why children in Montessori classes all over the world exhibit remarkable sense of self-assurance and contentment in their work, Dr. Maria Montessori repeatedly reminded us that she did not just set back in an arm chair and dreamed up those theories,
But she wanted us to remember that it was the children themselves who, by their free and natural inclination, revealed to her
the true nature of their growth and development. Once she said ?I am a rigorous scientific investigator, not a literary idealist like Rousseau. I seek to discover the man in the CHILD, to see in him the true human spirit, the design of the creator, the scientific and religious truth. It is to this end that 1 apply my method of study, which respects human nature. I don’t need to teach anything to children, it is they who, placed in a favourable environment, teach me, reveal to me spiritual secrets as long as their souls have not been deformed.
About the Montessori material which she developed, she made very clear:
“The material has formed itself, not arbitrarily, but according to the natural reactions of the child. How did I know what to
retain? The psychology of the child taught me. The didectic material is a delicate instrument, in its absence, or if it is not presented in the right order, in the right way, the indicative reactions will not occur. The natural movement for the explosion into writing will be lost; the right moment for learning about colors will pass.”
In 1926, Dr. Montessori was invited to address the League Of Nations at Geneva, she spoke on “Education and Peace.” Except for Barcelona and later Holland, she had no permanent home of her own, or in other word, she had no home; but was at home anywhere. What was important in life to her was, her work, which kept her constantly on move, traveling from one country to another teaching, lecturing, opening Schools, training centers, receiving awards. During her life time, she trained All Montessori Teaching Courses of England, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Chilli, Denmark, Austria, Hungry, Lithuania, Rumania, Srilanka, Russia, Japan, Pakistan, India to name only some.
In 1939, Dr. Montessori visited India to give All Montessori Teaching Courses and lectures in various parts of India. But due
to the break of the second world war, she had to stay till June, 1946. During her stay, she opened many Montessori schools, training centres in India & Ceylone. The people of India gave her great respect for her services. She was like a Guro to Indian people and particularly teachers. During her stay in India, Dr. Montessori personally trained over one thousand Indian teachers.
As far as her nationality was concerned, she used to say: “My country is a star which turns around the Sun and is called the Earth.”
Dr. Montessori again visited India and Pakistan in Aug 1947 and stayed upto May 1949. On the invitation of new Pakistan Government, she gave a month long training course in April 1949. This course was inaugurated by Pakistan’s Minister of Education
at the Thiosophical Society Hall in Karachi. Montessori Pakistan association was found in the same month. Lots of work of Dr. Montessori published from lectures, training courses, her own writings, especially during her stay in sub-continent, few of them:
Education for a new world (Summery of lectures-1946)
-The child and reconstruction in education (1941/42)
-Child training (12-talks broad casted in All India Radio Madrass-1948)
-What you should know about your child (Published in Colombo-1948)
-Book on “The discovery of the child” (1948)
-To educate the human potential (1948)
-Book on “The Absorbent Mind” (1949)
-The Montessori Method, Padagogical Anthopology – (1920)
-The advanced Montessori Method – Spontaneous Activity in Education.
-The Montessori Elementary Material
-Education for a new world. (1936-1939)
-The reform of education during and after adolescense.
-The function of the University (1939-1973)
From Childhood to adolescence 1948
In 1947, Dr. Montessori gave lecture in UNESCO on “Education & Peace.” For her work towards achievement of world peace through education, Dr. Montessori was thrice nominated for Noble-Peace Prize in 1949, 1950 & 1951.
She earned many honors, few of them;
-Cross of the legion of Honour of French Republic.
-Honorary Citizen of Perugia.
-Doctor Honoris Causa, by Univ. Of Amsterdam
-Order of Orange Nassau, Holland.
She always believed that her ?method of education was the best way of solving the worlds problem and discarding political solution and dismissing world leaders “Truman’ MacArthur, Churchill and all that”.
In 1951 she gave last Diploma Training Course of her life in Austria (She was then 81 years of age) though she gave some lectures afterward.
Before death on May, 6, 1952 near Hague, she bequeathed to his only son Mario-Montessori all her possessions and the legacy of her work, fruit of her intellectual and social work because she said “they were undertaken with him as inspiration and with
his constant collaboration from the time he was capable of acting in the world, when he devoted his life entirely to helping me in my work.?
We must pay great homage to this great lady of 20th Century by promulgating her teachings, her research, her sayings, her thinking, her philosophy which enabled the mankind to understand what man is. we must spread the Montessori system because this is the only system which can make child a complete & perfect man. We invite our readers to study Dr. Montessori and her system and compare with other systems. You will be convinced that Montessori system is the only complete & perfect method of educating children.
“SHE BELONGS ON ANY LIST OF THOSE WHOSE EXISTENCE SHAPED OUR CENTURY– IT?S DIFFICULT TO HAVE ANOTHER MONTESSORI, CENTURIES AHEAD”.