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Maria Montesorri: the great educator

Maria Montesorri: the great educator, physician and innovator.

She was born into an era filled with new discoveries. In 1896, after struggling long and hard to prove that, as a woman, she possessed the ability to attain higher education, Maria graduated from medical school as one of Italy’s first female physicians. Although originally working towards a degree in psychiatry, she soon turned her attention to education, and opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907. This is where Maria Montesorri developed her method, based on the idea that, when children are allowed to seek out knowledge on their own (rather than when learning is demanded of them) the child will learn much more quickly and completely. In her own words, Maria describes how the child learns.

“We might say that what we [adults] acquire with our intelligence, the child absorbs with his psychic life. The child merely by going on with his life learns to speak the language belonging to his race. It is like a mental chemistry that takes place in the child. We are vessels; impressions pour in, and we remember and hold them in our mind, but we remain distinct from our impressions, as water remains distinct from the glass. The child undergoes a transformation. The impressions not only penetrate the mind of the child but form it.”

After testing this method with her students at the Casa dei Bambini, she found it to be a complete success and her methods, which are still being used today, began to spread across the world.

Montesorri on movement

Maria Montesorri lived the rest of her life developing and teaching her method. In 1949 Maria Montessori wrote, The Absorbent Mind, (which details the educational development of the child from before birth and on) in which she points out the importance of movement in the child’s education. She says

“…without movement we cannot speak of an individual at all. If we think of a great philosopher he speaks of his meditation or writes of them, and so must use his muscles…Without the muscles, the expression of his thoughts would not exist. The nervous system in all its parts puts man into relationship with his environment; … with the inanimate and animate world and therefore with other individuals; …The vegetative systems serve only to help the individual in growing and vegetating, the nervous system serves to put the individual in relation with other individuals…Let us make a comparison. If we have lungs, a stomach, a heart, it is necessary that these function in order to have health. Why not apply the same rule to the nervous system?…The nervous system is one, a unity, though it has three parts…One of the mistakes of modern times is to consider movement separately from the higher functions”

We can clearly see how important Maria believed the participation of the body is in order to learn.

Chiropractic care can help you and your family to keep your spine in alignment so that nothing can interfere with the whole body’s ability to learn and participate with the world.

 


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