biography with «Corriere» –


On May 6, in the seventies of her death, the story of the life of the innovative, rebellious and visionary educator written by Cristina De Stefano will be in newsstands with the newspaper

If Jean Jacques Rousseau, together with Emilio, revolutionized pedagogy, Maria Montessori, with the Orphanage, revolutionized it twice. Genevanen believed that the child should not be considered a small adult and the Italian – she was from Chiaravalle in the Marche region, where she was born on 31 August 1870 and died in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on 6 May 1952, seventy years ago – he thought the adults themselves were children that in their childhood they had known abuse.

All of Montessori’s work – perhaps the most well-known, valued and imitated Italian abroad and unfortunately opposed in Italy – is to eliminate oppression and not just show that boys and girls need to be able to live their own lives as boys and girls, but must the world, the adult world, big and gray, is always constantly saved by children. Utopia? No, almost an observation that is the vital secret – the world is a child playing and working, a little Heraclitus, a little Giambattista Vico – that Maria Montessori carried in herself to dream of a ministry for the child in any government. of the country. In short, extraordinary ideas for an extraordinary life, as Cristina De Stefano told with passion and rigor, with documents and more documents, in the beautiful biography The child is the teacher. Maria Montessori’s liv which, after being translated around the world and taken up by film productions for a major TV series, is now out in kiosks with the Corriere della Sera in the wake of an international Montessori renaissance.

The little girl Maria was rejected three times: in first, third and fourth grade
. So how did she become a teacher? Here’s the point: Montessori – as Italians instead of opening their schools put on the old thousand lira and goodnight: it is no coincidence that Montessori schools are present all over the world, but in Italy they can be counted on the fingers of one hand – she has never been a teacher, she has never given a lesson in a classroom, and the idea itself terrified her. She was a doctor, a scientist, a revolutionary and even better a rebel who had a clear intuition and did not hesitate to put it into practice by creating in 1907 in Rome, in the district of San Lorenzo, the poorest in the capital. , an asylum for building that welcomed children without part but with a lot of art inside.

When the ladies of Roman high society brought toys as gifts to the poor, they faced something they had never seen before. One of them exclaimed, “But this is an orphanage.” What was in front of his amazed eyes? Cristina De Stefano says it well: “A revolutionary place where a herd of unrestrained hedgehogs, coming from the most needy families in Rome, with snot on their noses and shaved heads against lice, in a few weeks were almost magically transformed into various creatures , in small, attentive, silent, concentrated principles. Someone talked about “the miracle of San Lorenzo”, someone insinuated that Maria Montessori was using hypnosis“.

It’s a story as old as the cuckoo: when someone does something new, contrary to the old and tired rules and thus opens the windows, the air freshens up, it creates new life and rejuvenates and undermines the same rulesis immediately accused of being a strange subject: atoposas the Athenians said of Socrates.

The ideal and true story of Montessori belongs to the same sequence of ideas that will periodically revive Betalteia, human formation. What appeared to the astonished eyes of the Roman lady, and which perhaps hypnotized her, was something never seen before: “For the first time, a place in the world was designed for childrenfrom first to last detail, with furniture and miniature objects, specific didactic material and above all no intervention from adults, and inside the child could flourish and show his own infinite potential ».

When Maria Montessori arrived in the United States in 1913, The New York Tribune wrote that “the most interesting woman in Europe” had arrived. At that time, the Italian scientist and educator had already written – at the instigation of Barons Alice and Leopoldo Franchetti – her famous text: The method of scientific pedagogy used for infant education in children’s homes. But above all, she had a great career behind her and her basic intuition, the one that will support her throughout her life, and which will prevail through the twentieth century and reach us, concerned the education of marginalized girls and boys, disadvantaged , difficult or, as they used to say, “abnormal”. Montessori’s ideas are, of course, neither mushrooms nor brooms and have their own history, just like the experiments carried out by Jean Marc Itard and Edouard Sèguin, which the Italian relives.

However, there is a peculiarity, and Cristina De Stefano’s book highlights it: vision and practice. Montessori had both vision and practical genius. It is the two elements that made his life an extraordinary adventure. If we do not take this premise as our starting point, we do not mean his work. The idea of ​​making her a positivist and putting her in contrast to Giovanni Gentile’s pedagogical idealism is also misleading. How political interpretation also goes astray: Mussolini first supported it and then closed its schools, while the exaggerated scholastic statism of the second half of the twentieth century marginalized the Montessori opera, which was considered only in the interest of Minister Salvatore Valitutti.

But it is useless only to trace the story of Maria Montessori to national life: it is part of world history. Herself lived in Spain, India, Holland. A “fictional and rebellious” life to be inspired by. On his grave there is this epitaph: “I ask the dear children, who know everything, to build peace with me in people and in the world”. Current and outdated, like only the big ones.

Bindet: a woman who left an indelible legacy

Cristina De Stefano’s book is out in newsstands on May 6 with Corriere della Sera The child is the teacher, at a cost of € 12.90 plus newspaper costs. It is a biography that remains in newsagents for a month, about the great Italian researcher and educator Maria Montessori, who died 70 years ago: a figure whose activity has left its mark through a pedagogical method that is still known and practiced all over the world. Born in Chiaravalle (Ancona) on August 31, 1870, Maria Montessori was one of the first Italian women to complete her medical education in Rome in 1896. She quickly turned her attention to childhood, especially the poorest and most abandoned. Active in the commitment to the liberation of women, on a professional level she devoted herself to the mentally ill and discovered at the asylum the terrible condition of the children who were imprisoned there because they suffered from mental retardation. He embraced their destiny and strived to provide them with adequate help. His interest in pedagogy was born of this study, which he then put to the test by opening the “Children’s Home” in the popular Roman district of San Lorenzo in 1907. The success was extraordinary, and the book was born Method for scientific pedagogy used for infants’ self-education in orphanages (1909), in which Montessori illustrated a vision that rejects any authoritarianism and is based on the autonomous development of infantile creativity. She became famous all over the world, spreading her ideas, leading to the opening of several schools that adopted her method. He left Italy in 1934, where fascism disliked his work. After a long stay in India, he died in the Netherlands on May 6, 1952.

5 May 2022 (change 5 May 2022 | 21:12)

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