Episode 19: Dr Montessori and Motherhood

In this first of three podcasts on the theme of motherhood, Barbara and David look at Maria Montessori’s view of the role of the mother in child development. Maria was a mother herself, but in difficult circumstances. She was one of the first women in Italy to qualify as a doctor. As she specialised in paediatrics, Maria was appointed co-director of a training institute in Rome for professionals working with mentally-disabled children. She and the institute’s other director, another young doctor called Giuseppe Montesano, happened to fall in love and have a baby together. Because Giuseppe’s high-born family would not allow them to marry, Maria had to give up the baby, named Mario, to the father’s family for them to raise. So Maria Montessori’s motherhood was a secret, even to her son, until they re-united when Mario was much older. Some think this experience of ‘motherhood denied’ may have influenced Maria Montessori’s decision to dedicate her life’s work to children.

Om Podcasten

In the early 20th Century, Maria Montessori transformed our appreciation of the importance of early childhood to every individual and to society. Her followers are astounded by the ongoing relevance of her insights to contemporary issues — freedom, justice, peace, nature, identity, progress, independence, faith and love — all thoughtfully explored by Montessori experts and guests in this series of podcasts. The hosts are Barbara Isaacs, leading Montessori authority and President of Montessori Europe, and David Gettman, founder of My Montessori Child software, which sponsors this podcast.