Ancient history

And who was Maria Montessori?

An education that concentrates its efforts on the full development of the child, both at the level of mental and emotional processes, with emphasis on the ability to stimulate personal and affective development is, in three lines, what the Montessori Method consists of, a set of techniques and strategies to increase good results in children that our biography of today published in the year 1912. In Lima there are several schools named in honor of this Italian pedagogue and in Arequipa operates, since 1962, the Higher Institute María Montessori , which trains professionals in various specialties. But do we really know who Maria Montessori was? ? We will know after reading this new installment of our series “And who was she?”

Perhaps the concept that best defines Maria Montessori be that of a humanist, because the variety of fields of knowledge in which he dealt, which ranged from education to medicine - going through psychiatry, philosophy, anthropology and biology - show the greatness of a soul for whom no effort was necessary. too much if the objective was to illuminate the dimmest corners of the apprehension.

Born August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy, Maria Montessori she came from a wealthy family of the Italian Catholic bourgeoisie. The daughter of Alessandro Montessori and Renilde Stoppani, Maria grew up in a context in which women had to fight to earn the right to education.

At the age of 26, that is to say in 1826, Maria graduated as the first female doctor of the Italian nation from the University of Rome, known as La Sapienza. From the beginning, this Italian scholar made her perspective clear regarding the educational formation and personality of the human being as a result of this formation:the social and life context of an individual is decisive in his behavior and interests in his life. adult and therefore in the establishment of society.

In 1907 she received a request for help from the Italian minister of education, to set up the first children's home in San Lorenzo, Rome. This type of educational institution would revolutionize the pedagogical field by proposing a series of instructional methods for children that were unknown until then.

As also proposed by the German philosopher Hannah Arendt in her studies on the education of children, Maria Montessori she advocated the use of a learning procedure that was based on a strong love relationship between teacher and student. From this base of the educational pyramid, the preceptor would not authoritatively impose inconsistent data and information on the pupil, but would stimulate him, letting him discover his own interests and abilities.

Forming a free soul to occupy themselves with work according to their own inclinations was the best way to encourage rebellious boys to educate themselves and instruct themselves, according to Montessori. Finally, after having instructed a group in the Montessori children's house, it was observed with astonishment how they had learned to read and write at four and five years of age without a conventional prescriptive method. Then the scope and magnitude of the approach of the Italian pioneer was understood.

Maria Montessori He went into exile in 1933, when he had to travel to Barcelona, ​​Spain, to settle there and continue his studies due to disagreements that arose between his way of thinking and discourse and the abominable influence that fascist philosophy had on the education and training of the children. According to Montessori, imposing a violent, aggressive and warmongering way of thinking and therefore of acting on human beings who still cannot and do not know how to discern, was not only a waste of great human material destined to achieve a free and respectful society, but also It was a real crime.

After the end of the Second World War and, having lived through that painful chapter of history in the company of her son Mario in India at the invitation of the Theosophical Society of that country, Montessori travels to the Netherlands where he continues to promote his ideas regarding the free spirit that the education of minors should have. Upon her return to Europe, the French government decorated her by incorporating her into the Legion of Honor in recognition of her countless contributions and her contributions in educational methods. The University of Amsterdam also awarded her the degree of Honoris Causa for her outstanding work within the new conception of an educational methodology, free from any coercive principle.

Maria Montessori She was proposed three times as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, although she did not receive this important award. Among her main works are: The Montessori method (1912), Pedagogical Anthropology (1913), Advanced Montessori Method (1917), The boy in the church (1929), The Mass Explained to Children (1932), Peace and education (1936) and The Secret of Childhood (1936).

Maria Montessori She passed away on May 6, 1952 in the Netherlands at the age of 82, leaving behind an immeasurable legacy when it comes to educational systems for children. Montessori extolled the ability of children to know how to choose for themselves and according to their preferences, a way free from apprehension with which the same educational results were obtained that were often imposed in a repressive and authoritarian way, a form of education that it ended up breaking the will of the individual.