Written by: Kathy Handorf
I was recently given a first edition copy of The Montessori Method written by Maria Montessori from the year 1912. My husband purchased it for me as a gift and knew it was a good find, as original copies are treasures and often hard to locate. It was originally published in Italian in the year 1909, and then translated into 10 other languages by the year 1912. As I flip through the tattered pages of her magical writings, I can’t help but wonder how many people this book has inspired. Who else has touched this very book and become amazed by Montessori’s philosophy and teachings? If only this book could write a story of its own, I would know whose lives were transformed like mine after discovering the Montessori Method.
It’s uncanny to think how much has changed since the year 1912 and yet how much has stayed the same. The works from the pictures in this book are timeless and remain unchanged. The geometry cabinet, pink cube tower, broad stairs and moveable alphabet are exactly the same as those that are being used at The Lab School.
Montessori developed and worked on her writings and methods in spite of living through turbulent times. She survived World War II, The Spanish Flu Pandemic and The Great Depression. Yes, even Montessori experienced a world pandemic like we are experiencing right now.
Maria Montessori was a physician, feminist, educator and innovator who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times in her lifetime. She opened the world’s first Montessori School in Rome in the year 1907, called Casa dei Bambini. Although, quite a bit has changed in the past 100 years, it’s still refreshing to know that the basic beliefs and foundations of Montessori still motivate all of us today.
Her message of peace education, equal rights for women and social justice are still things we believe in and fight for today.
Maria Montessori would’ve been 150 years this past August. Her birthday celebrations often linger weeks longer and into International Peace Day, which is today, September 21st. That’s quite fitting knowing what a peacemaker she became and inspires us to be.
“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.” -Maria Montessori