I was recently thinking about a story from the work of Marie Montessori. I think an interesting irony of the work of Montessori in terms of who she saw her mission as serving and who the schools in her name mostly serve today (at least in the U.S.). She did her work first with children with learning disabilities, getting better results in teaching reading to them than the children not so labeled were getting in regular schools. Next she went on to work with the poorest of the young children in the housing projects of Italy of her time. She was a pioneer of showing how students need to be actively involved in their learning using all their senses (particularly through movement and touching things, what we would now call kinesthetic learning). She also saw her job as working with the families, not just the children individually.
But, in this country anyway, schools using her methods have been made available almost exclusively to the privileged in independent private school setting. I wonder what she would have made of this evolution of her work.
“Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.” ~ Maria Montessori