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Maria Montesorri

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Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori, Italian pedagogy who renewed teaching developing a particular method, known as the Montessori method, which would apply initially in Italian primary schools and later worldwide. Maria Montessori was born over a hundred years ago, on August 31, 1870 in the village of Chiaravalle, Italy, country located in Europe with the shape of a boot. Her mother, Reñidle Montessori, and her father, Alessandro Montessori, were very proud of her daughter. Reñidle watched his beautiful little girl and thought she had a special glow in her eyes. Maria lived the first five years of her life in the village. This occurred over a hundred years, and at that time all things were very different, the style of clothes people wore were very different, women wore long skirts and boots, men wore waistcoats, suspenders and ties in a bow, there was no running water or electricity in homes, so people brought water from the fountain of the village and used candles and oil lamps to see in the dark, there were no cars so people walked or used horses and carts the buying and selling took place in the market in a village street, where people were selling food, vegetables, fabrics or anything that could grow or make.

Few children went to school. The majority were sent to work as soon as they could selling eggs or bread in the market, working on a farm, or helping take care young children. Almost everyone worked because the village was very poor, few people went to school that is why just few people could read or write, even adults, people who could not write his name put an X in place of their signature. Maria's family had better luck, they had a much better situation in life, his dad had a good government job and both of her parents could read and write. Mary always hoped to go to school with great impatience.

Mary was a girl who loved to learn, she was very curious about life and asked questions about everything, her mother thought that this was a sign of intelligence and encouraged her by helping her find the answers. When Mary was five, his father found a better job in the great city of Rome, capital of Italy so they packed their things and moved. Mary was six when he started going to school, she was happy even though classrooms were sad, dirty, cold and full of students, all children had to sit still in uncomfortable chairs from their desks all day and had to listen to the teacher to repeat the same lesson over and over again because there were not enough books or paper for all children. Mary went to the girls' school until she was twelve. At that age, few children continued their studies. Those who did, were almost always the boys, women stayed at home and if their families had money, they did not had to work because at home they would learn how to become ladies and would learn sewing, cooking and making tea. This was what Maria's dad wanted for her daughter Mary.

Maria wanted more. At twelve she had done well in school, and wanted to continue her studies so she decided to enter the vocational school that was only for boys, and told her mom, her mom saw something very special about her daughter, she agreed with the idea. Together they communicated this to the father. Maria's father got angry. It was time that Maria became a lady, he said. But with much determination and tenacity, Mary and her mother convinced her father that Maria was a special girl and bright that she should go to vocational school. And she did.

After vocational school, Maria decided to attend medical school, as always, her mom thought it was a great idea, but as expected Maria's dad was shocked more than ever before, the only thing he wanted was that Maria became a lady as soon as possible. Mary continued to insist, never abandoned her dreams and the purpose to become a doctor someday that is when Maria applies for medical school to become a Doctor but the Principal of the university said: "Women are not allowed." "Thank you, sir, "said Maria, "But I will get to be doctor" and left his office. Afterward she went to see the Pope, who lives in Rome and is the head of the Catholic Church worldwide. "The Pope is a man highly respected and everyone hears what he has to say." Mary said, she told him her problem and asked for help, nobody knows exactly what had happened, but Maria was the first woman in Italy who went to medical school.

Maria was Dr. Montessori now. She took a job at a hospital in Rome; one of her duties was to visit the asylums for people insane. There she found mentally retarded children, whose families could not care; these poor children were called "idiots" or "weak-minded people." Nobody knew what to do with them. They were kept locked in rooms that had only hard wooden benches, they did not see anyone from outside and had nothing to play with. Maria had an idea; she knew the work of two Frenchmen who were called Seguin and Itard. These men had worked with deaf children and had designed special sensorial materials for them. They are called sensory because we learn through our senses and these teaching materials were designed to help children who had no sense of hearing. Maria thought that if Seguin and Itard had helped deaf children with these materials, perhaps she could help retarded children in the same way; she traveled to France and studied the work of Seguin and Itard, when she returned to Italy Maria manufactured part of these sensory materials for the nursing children. The children were happy to have something to do and to have someone who cared about them. The children played with materials that Maria had given them and learned while playing. They learned touching with their fingers, seeing with their eyes, hear with their ears, and smelling through the nose, they learned so easily that Maria made more materials to keep them occupied.

Others knew of the change of the retarded children and asked permission to Mary for them to take a test with "normal" children of the same age in school. Retarded children took the exam with normal children and did better than the normal ones, everyone was surprised. People thought that Mary was wonderful. "She's done a miracle," they said. Mary did not notice that. "If these poor children have done so well, how well would normal children do if they were educated in this way?" Mary wondered.

These were the first years of that century and poor farmers and their families left the fields and went to Rome to seek work, large building were constructed to accommodated these individuals, some of these large buildings were in a bind of Rome called San Lorenzo. This part of the city was poor and dirty. San Lorenzo was known as the worst neighborhood in Rome, a building had about fifty children who were left alone all day



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