AMI Journal 2008/1

Book Reviews: Casa dei Bambini (1907-2007), M. Victoria Peralta

To introduce this new feature, Harald Ludwig gives some details on three Montessori dissertations—mostly empirically oriented.

New and Recent Studies Dissertations on Montessori, Harald Ludwig

AMI Journal 2007/2

Editorial, Lynne Lawrence and André Roberfroid

Montessorians have had an extremely busy year, not only promoting the philosophy, but also organizing centenary events to celebrate and find inspiration together. Commitment to the child has been restated and reaffirmed worldwide. Many of you have sent in reports and impressions, and AMI has endeavoured to give the readership a taste of these by including glimpses both in our bulletin and on the centenary website (www.montessoricentenary.org).

Communications continues to provide indepth articles on Montessori philosophy and related topics provided by ‘friendly’ sciences whose field of interest and research touches upon our own.

We are grateful to Rita Schaefer Zener and Harald Ludwig who have agreed to step up their commitment to Communications by cochairing the editorial board. They both bring much experience to this very specialized journal, and are motivated and challenged to keep on improving it. We would like to introduce a book review section, and Harald Ludwig is launching this item in 2008. Another item that we would like to feature is a “Letters to the Editor”. Most importantly, we will be trying to focus on special themes. Currently the following are being considered: early childhood education, secondary education & Erdkinder, Cosmic Education, the importance of movement, normalization, and Montessori and empirical research. If you know of an interesting contributor or article that would go with these themes, or wish to suggest another theme, please get in touch with the editorial board at [email protected] montessori-ami.org.

The last issue of Communications this year is overflowing, and will give you some solid, enlightening, and original reading matter. As is appropriate, the first article is by Maria Montessori. It is the second lecture in a small series on Cosmic Education which we are running. In this one the apparent theme is the life cycle of chalk on earth, which serves to illuminate the far greater themes of ageing and renewal, and the forces of how life reconstructs itself continuously. One could even see the symbolism of AMI’s logo there: the three concentric circles.

“Psychogeometry and Psychoarithmetic” demonstrates the originality and brilliance of Montessori’s mathematical talents. It gives a glimpse into the ideas she worked out in more detail in her great publications Psicogeometria and Psico-aritmetica. Edited by Mario Montessori Senior and with explanatory notes and illustrations by Camillo Grazzini, it will fascinate you.

Mary Hayes gave a talk at the Elementary course in Baldegg, Switzerland to that course’s first graduates in 2006. It incorporates many aspects and testifies to Mary’s vast knowledge of Montessori theory across the age levels. “From Chaos towards Order” is an original and challenging article by Patricia Spinelli.

Tying in with the Montessori Centenary Conference in China, an extraordinary event to also mark AMI’s entrance into that big country, we are running two articles. “Montessori Education in Modern China”, which in spite of its title, focuses mainly on the development and influence of Montessori education in China in the early years of the twentieth century. Tian Zhengping gives a detailed account by charting coverage of Montessori in the media of that time. Harald Ludwig has provided an introduction to show the influence of European and American educationists in Asia, and China in particular.

“The Spiritual Preparation of the Adult” is the title of the lecture Eduardo Cuevas, AMI trainer in Vancouver, delivered to the participants of the Conference in China. It addresses the very basic tenet of Montessori education: without adults who know what Montessori is trying to do, the children do not stand to gain from Montessori education.

Mary Caroline Parker, school director of East Dallas Community School, has written an extremely thorough, helpful and accessible article on how a child’s “first set of adults”, namely his parents or caregivers, can learn to appreciate their child’s development. Enjoy “The Essential is Invisible to the Eye: The Evolution of the Parent Observer, part 1”. And yes, part 2 will be waiting for you in the first issue of 2008.

Ela Eckert (University of Oldenburg) is very interested in the Indian years of Montessori and has travelled to various destinations in Asia. Her contribution brings many aspects of Montessori together, particularly how it can serve children in disadvantageous situations of exile and distress.

Our fixed feature the “Question and Answer” section has been taken on by our editorial board co-chair Rita Schaefer Zener. Reward and Punishment is a topic that has many angles to it, and is one often raised by parents and teachers alike.

The closing article focuses on the introduction of a new network of Montessori scholars attached to European universities and institutions, who extend to you an invitation to join their network–on the condition that you can contribute to the exchange on current Montessori research.

We thank the new co-chairs and wish them every success!

Cosmic Education, Second Lecture 1935/36, Maria Montessori
Psychogeometry and Psychoarithmetic (with explanatory notes by Camillo Grazzini), Maria Montessori
Graduation Address Elementary Course Baldegg, Mary Hayes
From Chaos towards Order-the Prepared Environment, Patricia Spinelli
Montessori Education in Modern China (with an introduction by Harald Ludwig), Tian Zhengping
The Spiritual Preparation of the Adult, Eduardo Cuevas
The Essential is Invisible to the Eye: The Evolution of the Parent Observer, part 1, Mary Caroline Parker
Montessori Education in Exiled Tibetan Children's Villages, Ela Eckert
Question and Answer: Reward and Punishment, Rita Zener
Introducing MORE..., Harald Ludwig

AMI Journal 2007/1

Editorial, Mary Hayes

Two thousand and seven, the year, it cannot possibly have escaped our readership, Montessori education became a youthful centenarian.

Our history item, usually one of the last in Communications, in this special year has pride of place in the opening pages. The archives yielded an adapted version of the San Lorenzo story: how it came into being, the role of the property developers, the exploitation of tenants, and how, finally, Edoardo Talamo turned around the situation and also approached Maria Montessori to take on the running of a children's house, allowing her the opportunity to further develop her research and observations.

Edoardo Talamo ran a tight ship: he drew up rules and regulations that parents had to observe if they wanted their child to be in the Casa. His dissatisfaction if these were not followed to the letter even extended to Maria Montessori herself, as evidenced in the summary of his letter to her admonishing her for her not giving him advance notice whenever she expected visitors to the Casa.

The first children that attended the Casa benefited greatly from this experience, as did Maria Montessori herself from her work with the children. Many a revelation presented itself through careful and attentive observation. Renilde Montessori turned the spotlight on these "Miracle Children" when she spoke at the Montessori Centenary Conference in Rome, January 7. She argued that ‘this centenary year can be considered as a vantage point from which to view the past hundred years as an epoch of inchoate phenomena that offer the immeasurable value of indirect preparation, and this Conference in particular may be seen as a fitting starting point from which to undertake…the joint enterprise of calling for the latent talents for wise and sensible education…'

Nicole Marchak will delight you with "A Quest for Meaning: The Intelligence of the Child between Three and Six". She presents a concise and clear outline of the child's intelligence and makes a most compelling case for the role that Montessori can play in optimizing the development of that intelligence.

The core of this issue is devoted to Maria Montessori's own writings. In 1946, Maria Montessori and Mario returned to Europe after a prolonged stay of more than six years in India. The first post-war training course was given in London in the same year, and the "1946 London lectures" were to become the foundation of AMI primary courses. Part of the archives, they have been identified as one of the first unpublished ‘treasures' to be made available to a wider Montessori public.

A lecture has been selected for publication here, by way of introduction to the complete book of lectures and to complement Margaret Kernan's article on "The Place of the Outdoors in a Good Childhood: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Outdoor Provision in Early Childhood Education."

Margaret Kernan is a researcher and a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and as part of her thesis in Education, she devoted a chapter on the role of the outdoors in education throughout the last two centuries; Montessori had explicit ideas on the importance of movement and the healthy interaction between the indoor and outdoor environments, and she contributed an important element to the perception of how outdoor education can be integrated into essential experiences needed for the full development of the child.

As part of our ongoing exploration of the idea of Cosmic Education, we searched the archives for fresh material and identified a series of six lectures on that topic given as part of an extension to the 21st International Course held in London in 1935. The first of the series is published in this issue, and is enhanced by a passage from Montessori's great-uncle Antonio Stoppani, a highly regarded naturalist and geologist.

Cosmic Education was also one of the particular areas studied in depth by Camillo Grazzini. In his lecture "Maria Montessori's Cosmic Vision, Cosmic Plan and Cosmic Education" he points out how the three expressions, Vision, Plan and Education, all share the great qualifier ‘Cosmic' and argues that in reality they all represent different aspects of a single mode of thinking.

Our traditional Question and Answer feature gives an in depth insight into a key aspect of a Montessori environment: that of working on the floor. Rita Zener expands on its significance.

The many and varied items, past and present, provide solid and profound material, indispensable to Montessori. Please let us have us your reactions to particular articles and items in this issue. These will help us when planning future issues of Communications and ensure that areas of interest are not overlooked. Also, should you wish to contribute an article or a question, the deadline for copy for the next issue is August 1.

The Story of San Lorenzo, AMI
The Quarter of San Lorenzo, AMI
The Rules and Regulations of the Case dei Bambini, AMI
Summary of Signor Talamo's letter to Maria Montessori, AMI
The Miracle Children, Renilde Montessori
A Quest for Meaning: the Intelligence of the Child between Three and Six, Nicole Marchak
London Lectures 1946, Lecture 22, Maria Montessori
The Place of the Outdoors in a Good Childhood: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Outdoor Provision in Early Childhood Education, Margaret Kernan
Cosmic Education, Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori's Cosmic Vision, Cosmic Plan and Cosmic Education, Camillo Grazzini
Question and Answer: Working on the Floor, Rita Zener

AMI Journal 2006/2

Editorial, Mary Hayes

This is the second issue of the newly-styled Communications, which presents a rich tapestry, connecting the past and the present. We recall the drive and force of Montessori’s ideas as manifest in history, and link those to today’s urgent call for Montessori ‘now more than ever’ before. A broad spectrum of Montessori’s work and endeavours is covered and her interest in the development of the child not being limited to the classroom is confirmed. She was an ardent champion for the rights of the child and Margie Mayfield has provided us with an outline of Montessori’s efforts in that respect.

Montessori’s own campaigns for a better world for children was acted upon by one of her disciples, Mary Cromwell, whose harrowing description of the plight of the little refugees, victims of the Great War, and their eventual hope for solace and peace in a Montessori environment makes compelling reading.

Montessori’s great interest in and talent for mathematics is well-known and her publications Psico-Geometría and Psico-Aritmética testify to her eminent understanding of the subject. Neither publication has ever been available in English. Italian professor of mathematics Benedetto Scoppola has recently embarked on a project to edit the original Italian manuscript of Psico-Geometría, with annotations, which will serve as the source text for an integral English translation to be published in the Centenary year. As an introduction, we are happy to be able to bring you an excerpt from the first chapter.

We all possess a mathematical mind, and should not be daunted by mathematics. Cheryl Ferreira, AMI Trainer at the Maria Montessori Institute, London proves the former and the Question & Answer section demonstrates how Maria Montessori went on to make the most of the presence of this mathematical mind and turn the acquisition of a knowledge of mathematics into a challenge and a source of joy for the child.

At the 25th International Montessori Congress in Sydney in 2005, Mary Hayes gave us an insight into “Montessori’s View of Cosmic Education” and how the child in the second plane ‘…is led along the path of Cosmic Education in a multifaceted approach.’ We learn about the significant keys to the universe and to the world in which we live that are provided for the child from six-to-twelve.

In her lecture “The Role of the Specialist”, Baiba Krumins Grazzini focuses on the role of specialists who work with and help the adolescents. She says: ‘…it is not enough to have teachers…adolescents need to experience diversity of human work and human knowledge that only a variety of experts can provide.’

Maggie Zimmerman, a recent graduate of the Maria Montessori Institute, London offers a refreshing look at “normalisation”.

As we stand on the threshold of the Centenary year, we reflect on Maria Montessori’s own stance on the threshold of 1907 and on her work and study which would establish her as an acclaimed pedagogue and champion of the child. To guarantee that the Montessori method will make an even greater impact in the next one hundred years, a Centenary Declaration has been created, see page ….. It can also be found on montessoricentenary.org and we would urge you to promote the signing of this Declaration.

Annette Haines’ lecture to the participants of the AMI Annual General Meeting leaves no doubt as to our role now and in the future. Let us heed her words and pledge: ‘To place all the children in our world at the centre of society and to assist them in becoming the transforming elements leading to a harmonious and peaceful humanity.’

In closing, we look forward to the Montessori Centenary Conference in Rome on January 6 and 7, 2007 and to counting you among our number on that auspicious occasion.

Maria Montessori: Advocate for Children, Margie Mayfield
The Spirit of La Croce Bianca and Mary Cromwell, AMI
The Montessori Method Adapted to the little French and Belgian Refugees, Mary R. Cromwell
Geometry in the Children's House edited and with annotations by Professor Benedetto Scoppola, Maria Montessori
The Mathematical Mind, Cheryl Ferreira
Question and Answer: Montessori Approach to Mathematics with extracts from a lecture by Mario M. Montessori, AMI
Montessori's View of Cosmic Education, Mary Hayes
The Role of the Specialist, Baiba Krumins Grazzini
Normalisation, Maggie Zimmerman
6 January 1907, from "The Discovery of the Child", Maria Montessori
The Montessori Centenary Declaration, AMI
Programme for the Montessori Centenary Conference, January 6-7, 2007, AMI
Montessori: Now More than Ever, Annette Haines

AMI Journal 2006/1

Editorial, Mary Hayes

You will already have received the first issue of the AMI bulletin and have read the Communications Committee’s plans for our publications. An Editorial Board has been created to review content, encourage submissions and ensure the continued high quality of contributions.

The members of the Editorial Board are: Kay Baker Ph.D., Mary Hayes, Alexander Henny, Professor Harald Ludwig, Renilde Montessori and Rita Zener Ph.D.

Their combined expertise is vast and will allow Communications to evolve even further as a scholarly journal.

With this first issue of Communications in its new mode, we are bringing you the whole spectrum of Montessori education covering the ages 0-18, which should have an appeal to parents, teachers and scholars alike.

Dr. Montessori speaks to us about “Child Character” and the development of order and work, and the phenomenon of concentration. She argues that ‘…by concentration and attention, by contemplation, which one might say is the digestion of the concentration, the individual fortifies himself and once strong, he can finally do more than we would venture to ask of him.’

Dr. Silvana Montanaro Quattrocchi provides much food for thought about how prenatal time and a child’s first years after birth are so important for the foundation of the human being. She reminds us of our commitment to the child and the importance of protecting and defending his great inner powers.

Pamela Nunn takes us on a journey through another dimension of Montessori and explains—with the help of much research—how the prepared adult is the key to the Montessori approach for Indigenous communities in Australia.

And as we move through the Four Planes of Education, we find ourselves in the Third Plane. David Kahn, champion of the adolescent and Montessori education, provides a clear and interesting account of the accomplishments of the Third International Colloquium on adolescent studies.

David’s article is a perfect introduction to “The Role of the Disciplines for Cosmic Education”—an article where Baiba Krumins Grazzini shows us the wonders of “cosmic education”. She stresses the significance of catering to the nine-to-twelve year-olds. She says ‘If we are interested in adolescents, don’t the nine-to-twelve year-olds become terribly important?’

From France, we bring you the lecture delivered by Albert Jacquard at the Colloquium organised by Association Montessori de France to celebrate its 55th anniversary, Mr. Jacquard, a scientist and essayist known for his witty and imaginative approach, enlightens us about aspects of science and our place in the universe.

For our Question and Answer Section, Jean Miller, Ph.D. has provided a clear and concise answer to a question on music for the 6-9 year-old child. She demonstrates how music is an integral part of the integrated curriculum in the Montessori environment.

Communications also reflects on the year 1906—a century ago—when Maria Montessori stood on the threshold of a monumental occasion, one that has contributed to the lives of a century’s children. It is our responsibility to carry her work and vision forward into this century. We have to ensure that one hundred years from now, our children’s children’s children will be able to look back on a century that has been truly committed to the welfare and development of children everywhere in the world.

Child Character, Maria Montessori
The Foundation of the Human Being, Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro
The Prepared Adult as the key to the Montessori approach for Indigenous communities of Australia, Pamela Nunn
The Key Lessons of the Third Adolescent Colloquium, David Kahn
The Role of the Disciplines for Cosmic Education, Baiba Krumins Grazzini
What do we expect from schools?, Albert Jacquard
Question and Answer: Music for the 6-9 year-olds, Jean Miller
This year 100 years ago...focus on important events of 1906, AMI

AMI Journal 2005/4

Message from AMI's New President, André Roberfroid
Centenary of the Montessori Movement, Megan Tyne, Virginia McHugh

The AMI Journal includes articles by Dr Montessori as well as scholarly papers on Montessori and related topics. This website includes a searchable index of all articles contain in the AMI Journal. To purchase copies of an article or journal please contact [email protected]

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