New Delhi: Google is celebrating the 142nd birth anniversary of the Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori. She has been the source of inspiration to many people and educational institutes, who have imbibed her learning and practising them around the world
Originally named as Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori, she was born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father, Alessandro Montessori, 33 years old at the time, was an official of the Ministry of Finance working in the local state-run tobacco factory. Her mother, Renilde Stoppani, 25 years old, was well educated for the times and was probably related to Italian geologist and paleontologist Antonio Stoppani.
The Indian Connect
The informal Gurukul system of informal education had been a popular mode of instruction in India since the 3rd century BC. An interest in Montessori augmented well with this, when in 1913, an Indian student attended the first international course in Rome.
Students throughout the 1920s and 1930s had come back to India to start schools and promote Montessori education. The Montessori Society of India was formed in 1926 and Il Metodo was translated into Gujarati and Hindi in 1927.
By 1929, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore had founded many “Tagore-Montessori” schools in India, and Indian interest in Montessori education was strongly represented at the International Congress in 1929. Shanti Niketan, an informal education school founded by Tagore’s father in West Bengal, had already existed since 1863. Montessori herself had been personally associated with the Theosophical Society since 1907. The Theosophical movement, motivated to educate India’s poor, was drawn to Montessori education as one solution.
Montessori lectured in Vienna in 1950, and her lectures were published as ‘Il Bambino in Famiglia’, published in English in 1936 as ‘The Child in the Family’. Between 1913 and 1936 Montessori schools and societies were also established in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Canada, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.
She spent last few years of her life travelling Europe and India, flourishing and impersonating the idea of her education into various parts of the world. Montessori died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, at the age of 81 on May 6, 1952.