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AMI Journal

Communications 2002/2-3

Language and Thought, Ann Dunne

Ann Dunne wrote an interesting article on ‘Language and Thought’ in which she discusses ‘the function of language, its job in our daily lives, and why Montessori places so much emphasis on the natural development of language in children.’ Firstly she outlines the Montessori theory and practice with regard to language development; she goes on to compare and contrast these with contemporary views; she concludes that ‘language is a, if not the, most important skill for human learning and communication.’ She refers to studies which show ‘that with vocabulary growth comes increased opportunities for using words in the development of thinking, which in turn prompts further linguistic development. If children can use language to express and communicate their feelings, their emotional growth will also be greatly enhanced. …It can certainly be argued that the Montessori language programmes at both levels allow children to acquire the means to interpret, explore, make logical judgements, clarify the language they already have, express their needs, emotions, ideas and unique individuality in a concrete way whilst developing the mechanical skills and acquiring the knowledge and culture appropriate to their society and nation, and in so doing help them to reach clarity of thought and independence of intellect.’

Obituaries: Gianna Gobbi, Gool Minwalla and Kira Banasinska, AMI
Report of the Annual General Meeting, AMI
Spotlight on the Objectives of AMI's Articles of Association, Renilde Montessori

In her closing address at the Annual General Meeting of April 6, 2002, Mrs. Montessori referred to the objectives of the Association Montessori Internationale, as formulated in the Articles of Association and drew attention to the fact that not all articles are being actively and/or fully pursued. To illustrate this statement, she quoted from the Articles as follows: Article 3: The objectives of the association are to maintain, propagate and further the ideas and principles of Dr. Maria Montessori for the full development of the human being. She stressed the need to study this article carefully. AMI’s work is not just to follow Dr. Montessori, but should encompass the full development of the human being, a wider perspective to be kept in mind at all times. She remarked on a lack of respect for children as human beings from the time they come into the world, and posed the challenging question: ‘How are we going to respect these children? How are we going to help them to fulfil their potential?’ Mrs. Montessori reminded the meeting that the answers are to be found in Article 4, which reads The association aims to accomplish the objectives referred to in article 3 by all lawful means and in particular by 4a. Furthering the Study, Application and Propagation of the Montessori Ideas and Principles for Education and Human Development. ‘How many of those gathered here today continue to study the writings of Maria Montessori?’ she asked, mentioning Dr. H. Ludwig’s commitment to bring out academic editions in Germany with the aim of helping people study her work in the German language. Dr. Montessori herself was first and foremost a scientist. She was a pedagogue as a result of a combination of sciences; she became a pedagogue because she - as a doctor, as an anthropologist - discovered the characteristics of the development of the human being. She discovered something very simple, something many people throughout time had instinctively been heeding, namely the natural tendencies of the human child when it comes into the world. But the study of the child is something without end. Maria Montessori continued to study the child throughout her life, maintaining that ‘it is our mandate to become scientists of the child’. Thus our teachers must continue studying the child, and Dr. Montessori gives guidelines for this study. All of us who have studied Dr. Montessori’s books in the past and pick them up once in a while, will always find something new because of her very profound scientific background. We shall, without fail, gain new insights. Someone who obtains the AMI diploma and consequently applies all the tricks in the classroom, is not a scientist of the child. Applying and propagating the principles of Dr. Montessori require study, and there is no doubt about that. 4b. The propagation of knowledge and understanding of the conditions necessary for the full development of the human being from conception to maturity both at home and in society. This is a powerful mandate. To propagate the knowledge means that we already have the knowledge. This is also recognised by others, such as the UNICEF representative at the 2001 Congress in Paris who said: ‘You Montessorians have an extraordinarily specialised knowledge and methods to deal with children, a vision of education that is very much in demand and necessary in the world of today. Do something about it. You have something to give, give it’. Likewise, school administrators should not only administer, but also propagate the knowledge, by applying the principles and opening up the schools to the public around them, the parents and the community. That way, ripple by ripple, the knowledge of how to observe children, how to respond to the children's developmental phenomena will become part of our human condition. 4c. accrediting centres where people may be trained according to the principles and practices of education as envisaged by Dr. Maria Montessori. Mrs. Montessori stated that the objective laid down in this article is currently being realised. She thanked the Committees, the Directors of Training and everyone working in this area and concluded that this aspect of the Association is firmly in place. 4d. helping to create a climate of opinion and opportunities for the full development of the potential of all young people so that humanity may work in harmony for a higher and more peaceful civilisation. The creation of a climate of opinion comes with the propagation of knowledge. These powerful words require reflection. For instance, at the beginning of an AMI course, students often start preaching Montessori to their partners, neighbours, etc., but that usually has the opposite effect. Therefore we must be more subtle, subversive at times, like going as neutrinos through the tissue of society. We must bring what is important in a quiet way, without criticism, by small measures such as helping people to look at children. Especially young adolescents can be made aware of the texture of this climate, can learn what a child is all about, as they have something in common, namely the urge to become independent. Give young adolescents the opportunity to be with small children. By doing so, a climate of benevolence towards the new human being is created. And when this is built into their being, it will be there when they grow to be adults and parents themselves. 4e. promoting general recognition of the child's fundamental rights as envisaged by Dr. Maria Montessori irrespective of racial, religious, political or social environment. This objective is easy to understand for most Montessorians. The fundamental rights of men, and of the child, have been discussed in many places and times. How to recognise these rights is another matter. The aspect irrespective of racial, religious, political or social environment is something the whole world is becoming increasingly aware of. 4f. co-operating with other bodies and organisations which promote the development of education, human rights and peace. AMI is not the only organisation in the world promoting the development of education, human rights and peace. Although it has its own individual approach, there is a lot of common ground with other organisations; and if all were to unite their efforts, a tremendous strength would result. This was very noticeable at the Congress in Paris. It is important to know of these organisations, and to see where aims coincide. By uniting with others, AMI’s own aims can be strengthened.

Financial Report - 2001, AMI
AMI/USA Report, AMI
Report on the Activities of the MM 75 Fund in 2001, AMI
April in Amsterdam photographs, AMI
General Report on AMI Training Centres in 2001, AMI
Other Reports, AMI
Glossary of Montessori Terms, Annette Haines

Any science has it own vocabulary and terminology and the Montessori Method is no exception. Montessorians share a very specific set of references, references which of themselves are brief and succinct yet each one evokes the world of the child as described by Maria Montessori. Montessori language acts as a password, enabling the sender and the receiver to immediately decode the message being transmitted. This glossary was prepared by Annette Haines at the request of Molly O’Shaughnessy to accompany her lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course, held in Tampa, Florida in February 2001. As an appetizer to the full glossary, here are just a few: Control of Error: A way of providing instant feedback. Every Montessori activity provides the child with some way of assessing his own progress. This puts the control in the hands of the learner and protects the young child's self-esteem and self-motivation. Control of error is an essential aspect of auto-education. Exercises of Practical Life: One of the four areas of activities of the Montessori prepared environment. The exercises of Practical Life resemble the simple work of life in the home: sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, etc. These purposeful activities help the child adapt to his new community, learn self-control and begin to see himself as a contributing party of the social unit. His intellect grows as he works with his hands; his personality becomes integrated as body and mind function as a unit. Mixed Ages: One of the hallmarks of the Montessori method is that children of mixed ages work together in the same class. Age-groupings are based on developmental planes. Children from 3-6 years of age are together in the Children's House; 6-9 year-olds share the lower elementary and the upper elementary is made up of 9-12 year-olds. Because the work is individual, children progress at their own pace; there is cooperation rather than competition between the ages.

Training of Trainers Programme - A Second Option Open to Prospective Trainees, AMI
Montessori in the New Century, Elisabeth Houweling
Question and Answer: Multilingualism, AMI
Life Membership, AMI
Announcements, AMI

Communications 2002/1

Message from AMI's President, Renilde Montessori

6 January 2002 Ninety-five years ago today the Casa dei Bambini opened its doors in San Lorenzo. It would seem an auspicious day to gather one’s stray thoughts into a cogent vision for 2002, the first of the five years that will bring us to the Centenary of the Montessori Movement. In preparation for the second century of our work, it might be propitious to formulate a five-year plan, based on those objectives stated under Article 4 of the AMI Articles of Association that are not explicitly implemented, i.e. a., b., d., e., and f. Art. 4: The Association aims to accomplish the objectives referred to in Article 3 by all lawful means and in particular by: furthering study, application and propagation of the Montessori ideas and principles for education and human development. the propagation of knowledge and understanding of the conditions necessary for the full development of the human being from conception to maturity both at home and in society. by accrediting centres where people may be trained according to the principles and practices of education as envisaged by Dr. Maria Montessori. helping to create a climate of opinion and opportunities for the full development of the potential of all young people so that humanity may work in harmony for a higher and more peaceful civilisation. promoting general recognition of the child's fundamental rights as envisaged by Dr. Maria Montessori irrespective of racial, religious, political or social environment. co-operating with other bodies and organisations which promote the development of education, human rights and peace. As at present the only one actively accomplished is objective c., namely, accrediting centres where people may be trained according to the principles and practices of education as envisaged by Dr. Maria Montessori, which among the five remaining should then be considered first? Last year humanity was shocked into the fierce awareness that unless the many groups that pursue the greater good of our evolving species work in concert, their laudable and diligent efforts will be meaningless. So, perhaps, it would be wise to look at objective f. for the coming year: co-operating with other bodies and organisations which promote the development of education, human rights and peace. Recently, travelling eastward on a highway, there appeared in silhouette against the sunrise a row of many windmills, set out along a hilltop ridge, their long and elegant blades turning all at the same speed, yet asynchronous. Silent windmills, peaceful in the early morning light, accumulating clean energy from a source unending. Once past the ridge, looking back, there were the windmills, angelic in their pulchritude, tranquil and deliberate, white against the dark sky of the west. It is in our nature to seek symbols. The windmills, set between the shadows of the night and the gentle clarity of the dawn, appeared as a utopian portrayal of complicity among the diverse bodies and organisations which promote the development of education, human rights and peace, inspirited by the source unending that are the children. Throughout 2002, may cheer, tenacity and concord prevail as we endeavour to implement objective f. Renilde Montessori

Empowerment through Education, AMI
The Mathematical Mind, M. Shannon Helfrich

The study of the human mind has consumed psychologists and educators since the late 1800's. In today's world, we can add neuroscientists to this listing. Now we know much more about the apparatus and workings of the human mind than ever before. Often Montessorians are asked to justify the continued study of Dr. Maria Montessori's understandings of human nature. There is a tacit assumption that any theory 100 years old must be limited in scope and possibly invalidated by more recent discoveries and understandings…In actuality, these theories are being validated and our understanding enriched by current neuroscientific studies. One aspect of Dr. Montessori's theory of child development, that of the mathematical mind, is as important today as ever before. Dr. Montessori found this term ‘the mathematical mind’ in the writings of Blaise Pascal. For her this term gave focus to the phenomena she witnessed in the developing lives of children throughout the world. Teachers come away from their Montessori training with a strong understanding of the nature and beauty of the mathematical materials. They are in awe of the wonderful knowledge that children can glean from their interactions with these materials. They take from this experience the thinking that it is these materials that cultivate the mathematical mind. This is the first and foremost myth about the nature of the mathematical mind. …Dr. Montessori gives great insight through her view of the child as a reflection of the essence of human nature… Familiar to many Montessori teachers are the stories regarding the explosion into writing and the explosion into reading. Teachers know them well and may also have experienced these phenomena for themselves through their work with children. The phenomenon that is not heard about or recognised as easily is the explosion into mathematics. Dr. Montessori discerned that the manifestation of every phenomenon followed a similar progression. It was this pattern that she built upon in offering activities to the child. The progression involves: 1) indirect preparation 2) formation of subconscious knowledge - gathering of experience and impressions 3) awakening of the consciousness with the accompanying powers of application By definition, the mathematical mind is a power to organise, classify and quantify within the context of our life experiences. This is spontaneous activity of the mind, it is uniquely human and it is a capacity found in all human beings. Adults use mathematical knowledge informally throughout every day of their lives: Driving to school in the morning... - assessing speed - stopping distances - anticipating turning ratios. Making breakfast... - measuring coffee into the filter - stopping the flow of the coffee directly out of the machine into the cup - estimating the amount of sugar or milk to be added. The young child, through the developmental powers of the Absorbent Mind, the Sensitive Periods and the Human Tendencies, also gleans informal mathematical knowledge. The child sees other human beings acting within this mathematical context, and takes in the patterns and relationships. The child utilises the Human Tendencies for orientation and exploration to broaden the perspective from which the world is viewed. There are three characteristics that reflect the workings of the mathematical mind: 1) the drive toward accurate observation 2) the motivation to create order out of chaos 3) the ability to perceive patterns of relationships leading to the creation of abstractions and the use of the imagination. Ms Helfrich further explores these characteristics in a lively and clear article.

Montessori Junior Schools, Mario M. Montessori

In this article, Mario Montessori illustrates how children at the elementary level become ready to take on responsibility for their own education in the widest sense and how the school can help prepare an environment conducive to self-steered research and exploration of many subjects. To explain how the school can stimulate auto-education, he has dipped extensively into the on-the-ground experiences gained at the Scuola Montessori di Bergamo, a school which was founded in 1949. Eleonora Honegger Caprotti (1902-1992) directed this school for the first twenty years of its existence. Together with Mario Montessori she was instrumental in setting up and running the Bergamo Training Centre (Centro Internazionale Studi Montessoriani) from its inception in 1961 until 1972, during which period she was sole director of training. L'autoeducazione nelle scuole elementari is the only book by Dr. Maria Montessori which deals with the psychology of the children from six to twelve years. Illustrating her first experiences with children of this age and the material she used at the time, the book was originally published in 1916. Several books would be necessary to illustrate her subsequent experience and the material developed since then, but a partial view may be gathered from the following exposition. It has been compounded from parts of a report by Mrs. Eleonora Honegger. Each part is preceded by an explanation that connects it to Dr. Montessori's theories. The great variety of examples and the concrete way in which they are presented make intresting reading.

Annual General Meeting of the Association Montessori Internationale Agenda and Venue, AMI
Nominations for the AMI Board, AMI
Secretarial Report for 2001, AMI
La Maestra, Maria Montessori

Graduating from an AMI course is just the first step in a very challenging but rewarding process, as is clearly indicated in this lecture given by Maria Montessori on an international course in Rome, in the early thirties of the last century. By taking a different stance from what is generally common in education, the directress allows the child to develop according to his own inner directives. But it is not only the child who develops. In the words of Maria Montessori ‘this school is both for the teacher and for the child...in which the one contributes to the development of the other’. And if...the adult comes to the conclusion that he should act for the benefit of the child only once he has understood him, and therefore only after he has identified exactly what his needs are, and that as a result he decides he should study the child in order to lead him according to the inner qualities he has so discovered - even then the educator remains at the same static point, because his actions are still based on the principle that it is education which moulds the child. We want to express another principle, which is not an idea but one which has been derived from a long and varied experience. Our principle is that one must limit the actions of the adult towards the child, so as to give him the possibility to develop without an ever-present oppressive will stronger than his own. …and as it is the child who makes the adult, it is easy to realise that a well or poorly developed child will be a strong or weak man. Also easy to realise should be the consequences of giving the child unnecessary help. This principle of limiting the help of the adult so as not to harm the child, so as not arrest his development, is one of the most fundamental in our method of education which promotes instead the need of devoting very delicate care to the child. We must assume the attitude of becoming observers, to be prudent and humble so as not to overstep the limits we have set for ourselves. We must give what is necessary and sufficient - but nothing more. …an effort is required. But as the field in which one enters is so fascinating and as the new world revealed by the child under one's care becomes so irresistible...little by little, almost without noticing it, the teacher comes to understand, to enjoy and, therefore, with practice, to perfect herself.

The Perennial Question: Which Comes First, Multiplicand or Multiplier, Camillo Grazzini & Baiba Krumins
Strategic Planning Committee, AMI

The need to look afresh at the aim and role of AMI was the main theme of the meeting of Directors of Training and Trainers in Ambleside, in August 2000. It was a topic that elicited fruitful contributions from the participants and resulted in the Executive Committee approving the establishment of an ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee. The task of the Committee is to take stock of how the Association's objectives are currently being implemented. It will also provide a platform for the membership to air its views. New initiatives and suggestions that fall within AMI's aims and objectives will be reviewed and submitted for consideration to the relevant AMI bodies. The Committee, however, will not be empowered to make commitments on behalf of AMI since its main role is to explore how best the work of AMI can be realised. The Committee consists of five members: Dr. Kay Baker, (Elementary Trainer - USA) Dr. Silvia Dubovoy, (Primary Trainer - USA) Ms Shannon Helfrich, (Primary Trainer - USA/Australia) Mr. Monte Kenison, (Primary Trainer - USA) Mrs. Lynne Lawrence, (Primary Trainer - UK) Its mandate is to give thought and form to projects which support the vision and role of AMI: - by identifying and prioritising the short-term goals - by deciding how these goals can be achieved - by outlining the steps to be taken - by presenting a business plan The Committee invites input to help it move forward in its task of formulating a strategic plan for the AMI of the future. If you have suggestions that would help to maintain, propagate and further the aims of AMI, please submit them via e-mail. Please note that all responses are valued but cannot be individually acknowledged. The Committee looks forward to hearing from you.

Question and Answer: History in the Children's House, AMI

Question: How is History introduced in the Children’s House? Answer: If children have been welcomed into a rich environment, in the first three years of life they will lay a solid foundation of complicity and solidarity with their world and all its exhilarating phenomena among which, first, foremost and above all, their own kind. The people around them are an inexhaustible source of interest. Initially those present and tangible, and as their sense of time, their capacity for abstraction and their imagination develop, also the doings, the comings and goings, the ventures and adventures of people past will fascinate them.

Announcements, AMI
Membership Fees, AMI

Communications 2001/4

To Our Readers, Mary Hayes
The Need for Universal Accord so that Man May Be Morally Trained to Defend Humanity, Maria Montessori

“The Need for Universal Accord so that Man May Be Morally Trained to Defend Humanity” points to the need to bring about a unanimous moral agreement among all men in the pursuit of one of the goals of education. This article, included in Education and Peace currently published by ABC-Clio Press, Oxford, U.K., was one of the lectures on the subject of Peace that Dr. Maria Montessori delivered during the Sixth International Montessori Congress, held in Copenhagen in 1937. From the article...“When we speak of peace, we do not mean a partial truce between separate nations, but a permanent way of life for all mankind. This goal cannot be attained through the signing of treaties by individual nations. The problem for us does not lie in political action to save one nation or another; our efforts must be devoted, rather, to solving a psychological problem involving all mankind, and as a consequence acquiring a clear conception of the kind of morality necessary to defend humanity as a whole. For today it is not just one nation that is threatened with destruction, but all mankind from one end of the earth to the other, with all its various peoples at different stages of civilisation”.

Maria Montessori and the Nobel Peace Prize, Maria Jervolino, Camillo Grazzini

The last issue of Communications of this year mixes in a variety of topics, whose focus is mainly on Peace and peace-related aspects of Education. The article ‘Maria Montessori and the Nobel Peace Prize’ provides an insight into the arguments used by the people who supported Montessori’s candidature. In line with the regulations of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, allowing supporting papers to be disclosed when fifty years have passed, we quote from Maria Jervolino’s letter to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament: ‘As a Member of the Italian Parliament, I am honoured to propose once again the name of Dr. Maria Montessori for the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize 1951. Dr. Maria Montessori is universally known for her contribution to the cause of peace and the brotherhood of nations, to which she has dedicated the best years of her long and active life, laying the foundations of a true science of peace by means of an innovated form of education. The enclosed memorandum bears witness to the value of this contribution and the influence it has had and still has in many countries of the world, of which Dr. Montessori’s books—translated into many languages—are also a clear documentation.’ The article is followed by Camillo Grazzini’s personal thoughts on the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize. He considers the fact that Maria Montessori was never awarded the Prize “A Lost Opportunity”. He concludes his reflections by stating “...with or without a Nobel Prize for Peace, Maria Montessori remains great for her exceptional and positive notion of peace. In her preface to Education and Peace she wrote: ‘The question of peace cannot be discussed properly from a merely negative point of view, as politics ordinarily regards it, in the narrow sense of avoiding war and resolving conflicts between nations without recourse to violence. Inherent in the very meaning of the word peace is the positive notion of constructive social reform.”

Chiaroscuro, Renilde Montessori

From the reports on and reactions to the Paris Congress we quote...This issue of Communications also amply reflects and celebrates the sentiments, talks and addresses given at the 24th International Montessori Congress 2001. Renilde Montessori’s sketchings in ‘Chiaroscuro’ outline the strength of her convictions in respect of the motto Education as an Aid to Life. “When we speak of ‘Education as an Aid to Life’ it is commonly assumed that, from the point of view of educators, it is merely the lives of those being educated that are under consideration - our children, our pupils, our students - the mandate being ostensibly to ensure that they, as individuals, will achieve an optimum quality of life. However, this is a narrow view - poor, dark and dismal; a tunnel leading nowhere for a human being educated solely for his own good, oblivious of the context of his interdependencies, unaware of the web of life and his place within it, cannot be said to have received a sound education. Education as an Aid to Life, if it is to have any meaning, must encompass the phenomena of life itself. From this perspective, it is the educators’ task to allow the child’s innate complicity with his environment to flourish. This is becoming more and more difficult for the child’s spiritual environment is becoming sedulously impoverished. It is imperative that the educator ....prepare environments where children will be able to develop in accordance with the inner directives that are part of their human condition....Human beings...have been very good at envisaging and systematically constructing adequate environments to suit their endeavours. Man is a learning animal. In the child, the need to learn is a powerful, passionate drive, for that which the child learns is the prime matter for his self-construction.”

Pictures from the Paris Congress, AMI
Gala Dinner Address - International Montessori Congress, Paris 2001, André Roberfroid

Also included in this issue is the gala dinner address by Mr. André Roberfroid, Executive Director for Programme and Strategic Planning of UNICEF, on the evening of July 4. In his speech he highlighted UNICEF’s main missions, stressing the link between these and education. He was inspired by the Montessori approach to children and their rights. Some of the points he stressed were: • Put Children First: that is in every decision we make (individually, family, community, government, companies, etc.) think about the implications for the child and consider that the best interest of the child is to be the guiding and decisive condition. • Listen to Children: you propagate it and I understand that it is the base of your philosophy. We must make it the philosophy for everybody. It must not be the privilege of Montessori, it must be everybody’s view. • Educate Every Child.

On the Subject of Subjects Part 1: 'Cultural Subjects' in the Children's House, Baiba Krumins and Camillo Grazzini

Camillo Grazzini and Baiba Krumins co-authored “On the Subject of Subjects”, a two-part article on cultural subjects. Part I gives a thorough and enlightening approach to the role and place of culture in the Casa dei Bambini. From the article... “...Mario Montessori is referring to a different dimension of the word: culture as meaning a wide-ranging knowledge which is not limited to knowing how to write, to read, to count. The limits to this further exploration are not set by the number of different fields of learning or knowledge, but by the psychology of the age which requires exploration involving the hands, the senses and language rooted in a concrete context, as well as exactness. Art, music, geography, botany, zoology, history, physics, all lend themselves, or have aspects which lend themselves, to this kind of exploration. Even language and maths are explored well beyond the basics indicated above. In this way, the child of six who leaves the Children’s House to enter the Elementary is, says Maria Montessori, ‘an individual who has already acquired the basis of culture, and is anxious to build on it, to learn and penetrate deeper into any matter of interest’ (To Educate the Human Potential).”

Creativity, Jean Miller

Elementary Trainer Jean Miller writes on creativity, stretching the ‘limited’ definition of that word. “In Montessori we do not think of creativity as something that belongs only to the arts or only to a particular process such as ‘creative writing’. Rather, creativity is a part of everything. Children are in the process of creating themselves as individuals, as members of a social group, and as members of their culture. Education is a part of that process. It should enhance the process of becoming and belonging rather than working against it. This is why the ‘method’ that Dr. Montessori discovered and promoted was not meant simply for academic learning. Rather, its purpose is to support life itself. That is, it is to support and enhance the children in the process of becoming or creating themselves.”

Announcement - Educateurs sans Frontières, AMI
Lost Diplomas, AMI
Question and Answer: Computers in the Classroom, AMI
Introducing the New Members of the Pedagogical & Sponsoring Committees, AMI
Announcements, AMI
Membership Fees in 2002, AMI

Communications 2001/2-3

What About Free Expression?, Mario M. Montessori

“What About Free Expression” is the full version of the special web-adaptation of Mario Montessori’s article on drawing and free expression.

In Memoriam-Nicolette van der Heide, AMI
24th International Montessori Congress "Education as an Aid to Life" Paris, July 2001, AMI

'The presence of a great many young participants indicates that Montessori has a firm footing in the 21st century and its future looks sound and healthy." Thanks to the hard work of the Congress Organising Committee, spearheaded by Mme Marie-Louise Pasquier, Victoria Barres and Patricia Spinelli-Delivré, the Congress became a resounding success - a fact that has been endorsed by the many compliments and congratulatory remarks received by Head Office.... "New information integrated with existing Montessori beliefs made me reaffirm my commitment to this chosen profession of not only educating children but also being a part of the culture of peace." " Education for life is a basic tenet of Montessori philosophy. I certainly experienced that at the Montessori Congress." "Even though I don’t have formal Montessori training, it was a joyful experience to listen to all the speakers and take in the full essence of what they were getting across. During the breaks they happily answered any additional questions we had." "The talks were most interesting and educational—it was an enriching experience.” “Maria Montessori has left us a wealth of knowledge about the child. It is time to carry forward her work." "Many, many thanks to everybody involved!" The Congress was brought to a glittering conclusion with a gala dinner. In her closing words, Renilde Montessori defined three goals for the future: • to establish a three-year training course embracing Assistants to Infancy, Primary and Elementary - as a first step to the University for the Study of Human Development • to focus on the Erdkinder programme as envisaged by Maria Montessori • to carry forth, in a broader spectrum, the work represented by Educateurs sans Frontières.’

Obituaries, AMI
Introduction to the Refresher Course, Molly O'Shaughnessy

Molly O’Shaughnessy, AMI director of training at the primary level, was one of the main speakers at the joint Annual Refresher Course, Tampa 2001. She gave the participants much food for thought, by stressing the importance of refresher courses and sharing her own experiences, reaffirming her commitment to Montessori and the need to keep on learning. From the “Introduction to the Refresher Course” we quote... ...From my own experience with working with children, I eventually came to trust that to truly serve the child and provide for his or her needs, I always had to go back to the principles to guide my actions. So I thought ‘what do we mean when we say principles?’ This is something we hear over and over in our work: ‘the Montessori principles, let the principles guide our actions.’ ...Montessori education should consist, therefore, of giving adults understanding and insightful principles, which in turn become directive principles, not just a series of how-to directions that simply convert the directress into a puppet or actress. ...You have come to a "refresher” course. You have different backgrounds and teaching situations. But no matter what the differences, there is one similarity among all of you - you are all a stake in the ground for children and the guardians of our Montessori principles, which represent our deepest faith and hopes. That is why you must keep your principles alive within yourselves and be constantly aware of yourselves as active guardians. We must all take the basic principles and then make important decisions based on them. ...I needed to go back to principles. I needed to be refreshed in the sense of encountering the prepared environment scientifically, through a series of decisions in relation to careful questioning as to how to apply principles. I needed to go back to a community.

Report on Annual General Meeting, AMI
Farewells and Welcomes, AMI

In recognition of their commitment and contribution to the work involved throughout their time on the Board of AMI, a presentation was made to the outgoing Board members during the reception which followed the AMI Board Meeting on April 20. AMI thanked Silvia Dubovoy, Elizabeth Hood and Fred Kelpin. New appointees to the AMI Board are Eduardo J. Cuevas de González, Puerto Rico and Gary Goodwin, USA Pedagogical Committee Following ratification by the AMI Board, the Pedagogical Committee is pleased to welcome Mrs. Farida Akbar, Pakistan and Ms Sandra Girlato, Canada to its ranks. Sponsoring Committee Dr. Annette Haines was appointed to the Sponsoring Committee. Gool K. Minwalla Honoured Gool Minwalla started her own Montessori Casa dei Bambini in 1941. Since 1965 Mrs. Minwalla has been Director of Training at the Montessori Teachers Training Centre based in Karachi. In addition she has held many functions in the fields of welfare and education, receiving ample recognition for her work from official authorities. The latest award conferred upon Gool Minwalla was one given during a ceremony at the Seventh World Zoroastrian Congress, held in Houston, USA, where her efforts and dedication in the service of children in Pakistan were recognized. All three groups are composed of AMI alumni and are concentrating on bringing AMI graduates together in their respective countries as well as lending their support to the AMI endeavours locally and to the work of AMI as a whole.

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