The child at birth appears almost nothing. He cannot walk, cannot talk and he can’t even eat on his own. The same child within two years learns so much. He can walk, run, talk continuously. Maria Montessori calls the child during this formative period, “a Spiritual Embryo”. The human being is provided with two embryonic periods. One is pre-natal and another one post-natal. The pre-natal period is the period when the physical development takes place. All beings have only pre-natal period. But the human being has another embryonic period which is post-natal. Any animal immediately after birth starts to walk, eats on his own and it will be a complete animal whereas the man has a prolonged infancy in order to become independent.
An Italian educator of the early 20th century Maria is remembered as the founder of the famous Montessori Method of education Maria Montessori was born in the town of Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona, Italy on 31 august; 1870She developed interest and biology became her great passion. She persisted and became the first woman in Italy to earn the degree of doctor of medicine. She was appointed at the psychiatric clinic in the University of Rome. She worked with special need children and became deeply interested in their education. In 1904 she was appointed as professor of anthropology at the university. She died in 1952.
Birth of a method
In 1906, she was appointed as a co-director of a new training institute for special education teacher. Her studies led her to observe the method of teaching children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many of the children made unexpected gains and the program was proclaimed success. In 1907, Maria accepted a new challenge to open infant school in a slum clearance rehousing program in Rome. The first school, in sanLorenzo, It was called Casa dei bambini, a quality learning environment for young children. Utilising scientific observations and experience gained from her earlier work from young children she designed learning materials and environment that foster the children natural desire to learn. In 1910, the Montessori Method became worldwide creating a new education.
The new education is a revolution; but a revolution without violence. It is the non-violent revolution”. (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent mind, Translated from Italian by Claude A.claremont.Newyork,1967,p.215)
Dr. Maria Montessori called for a revolution in society to human development and education. According to ‘the philosophy of new education’ character building is a question of auto construction and children must be helped in their own work of constructing their character. “There is only one problem, and it is human development in its totality; once this is achieved in any unit-child or nation everything else follows spontaneously and harmoniously” (Maria Montessori, To Educate the human potential, kalashetra publication,adyar,madras,1961,p 13.)
The aim of education is the balanced development of personality-the whole personality, the integrated personality.
Montessori compared the process of psychological and spiritual development to the physical unfolding of human organism. This post natal work is a constructive activity which is carried on the baby what may be called the “formative period” and it makes the baby into a kind of spiritual embryo. A new born child has no hereditary models of behaviour to follow nevertheless he has “potentialities “able to bring about his development, and these are done by making use of outer world.
“The times have changed, turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in course of construction” (Maria Montessori, Discovery of the child, ABC-clio ltd,1948)
Maria Montessori called these...