Introduction Over the years there have been many innovative leaders in the field of psychology, Maria Montessori was one of them. Maria was born in 1870 and became the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She embedded herself into her work and made significant contributions to the fields of psychiatry, anthropology and education. Maria was acclaimed for her education method that built on the way children learned naturally. She believed in order expand any system of education a favorable environment must be created to allow the flow of a child’s natural gift.
Maria Montessori was one of the greatest pioneers of theories in early childhood education, and her work continues throughout the United States and around the globe. Biography/Background Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in the provincial town of Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father was a financial manager for a state-run industry. Her mother was raised in a family that prized education. She was well-schooled and an avid readerunusual for Italian women during that time.
The same drive was instilled into Maria, and she immersed herself in many fields of study before creating the educational method that bears her name (American Montessori Society, 2015). Beginning in her early childhood years, Maria grew up in Rome, a paradise of libraries, museums, and fine schools. Maria was an excellent student, confident, ambitious, and unwilling to be limited by traditional expectations for women. At age 13, she entered an all-boys technical institute to prepare for a career in engineering. In time, however, she changed her mind, deciding to become a doctor instead.
She applied to the University of Rome’s medical program but was rejected. Maria took additional courses to better prepare her for entrance to the medical school and persevered. After considerable effort, she gained admittance, paving the future for women in the field. When she graduated from medical school in 1896, she was among Italy’s first female physicians (American Montessori Society, 2015). Theoretical Perspectives According to (Ross, 2012) The Montessori Method of early childhood education offers mimetic theory an avenue to explore healthy patterns of desire in children.
The investigation emphasizes the unconscious dynamic of mimetic relationships and their root in the body. The immersion of language, cultural norms, and customs by children is more than a metaphor. The child is taking the world into himself through his hands, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. For this physical exploration of the world to take place, the world must be brought into focus and remain in view. The centrality of objects for development in early childhood offers a sharp contrast to a mimetic rivalry, in which objects become less important than the competition itself (Ross, 2012).
Dr. Maria Montessori’s model of education provides an outline for children to have mediated, but intense object relationships by training teachers to perform benign or withdrawn mediation. Teachers thus initiate the possibility of a shared admiration of the object, thereby opening up the opportunity for the child to have direct interaction with the material world. In this way, children are inducted into a healthy pattern of desire in which acquisitive desire remains fluid, models remain luminous, and objects remain in view (Ross, 2012).
Dr. Montessori’s claim that her educational method would become the foundation for a more peaceful world is difficult to test. It does however invite an investigation by mimetic theorists. With its understanding of the dynamics of rivalry, the mimetic theory can diagnose where the Montessori Method is liable to fail. What the Montessori education system offers mimetic theory is a living laboratory in which to study the intentional development of healthy patterns of desire. Such a dialogue will be fruitful for both (Ross, 2012). Experiments and Findings
Maria and many schools practicing her philosophy have conducted many experiments testing her educational methods. According to (Harris, 2005) in a study carried out by Clifford & Takacs (1991), graduates of the Montessori Head Start program at the Marotta Montessori School of Cleveland who had entered the Cleveland Public Schools (CPS) were studied with their nonMontessori CPS peers. The comparisons showed the former Montessori students consistently fared better in math. In addition to this work, Boehnlein (1990) cited that low socioeconomic status children benefited significantly from Montessori preschool.
Other studies confirm these results. Dr. Tim Duax (1989) studied the 1987 and 1988 graduates of MacDowell School, a Milwaukee public school Montessori program, and ages 4 to 11. Of these students, the standardized test scores (lowa Test of Basic Skills) of 84 percent of MacDowell graduates were above the 50th percentile, exceeding national norms. Nationally, 23 percent of students scored in the “high achievement” range; 44. 5 percent of MacDowell graduates scored in that range. And while 23 percent of their peers nationally scored in the “low achievement” range, only 1. 2 percent of MacDowell graduates scored in that range.
Students in Montessori middle schools reported more positive motivation and experience than a matched sample of students from traditional middle schools (Rathunde & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003). Five Montessori schools from four U. S. states participated in the study encompassing all social class levels. Rathunde et al. (2003) followed up with an article that put Montessori’s rich understanding of the prepared environment in tandem with contemporary thought in both education and developmental psychology (Harris, 2005). Historical Trends. Maria Montessori was inspired by children but more so to those in poverty or suffer from mental illnesses.
She observed her methods and seen the results first-hand. Convinced of her work she traveled around the world sharing her ideas and methods. Although, her methods were not immediately used, recently they have become a part of many schools curriculum. Maria’s work has now been translated into 20 different languages and taught by teachers of various backgrounds. Notable Characteristics. According to (Bagby, Sulak, 2013) Montessori’s development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills through work complements current research in leadership development.
Practicing leadership inside and outside the classroom, students learn to be leaders (Posner, 2009). Many pupils in the Montessori classroom may be unaware of their ongoing leadership development because it is often a part of the hidden curriculum (Bagby, Sulak, 2013). For instance, students in a Montessori classroom will serve as class leaders and run class meetings without assistance from teachers. Also, older students serve as leaders for younger students in multiage classrooms. Montessori students practice leadership within the classroom on a daily basis, often without realizing the benefits (Bagby, Sulak, 2013).