The Child Is the Teacher: A Life of Maria Montessori (Hardcover)

The Child Is the Teacher: A Life of Maria Montessori By Cristina De Stefano, Gregory Conti (Translated by) Cover Image
By Cristina De Stefano, Gregory Conti (Translated by)
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Description


A fresh, comprehensive biography of the pioneering educator and activist who changed the way we look at children’s minds, from the author of Oriana Fallaci.

Born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria Montessori would grow up to embody almost every trait men of her era detested in the fairer sex. She was self-confident, strong-willed, and had a fiery temper at a time when women were supposed to be soft and pliable. She studied until she became a doctor at a time when female graduates in Italy provoked outright scandal. She never wanted to marry or have children—the accepted destiny for all women of her milieu in late nineteenth-century bourgeois Rome—and when she became pregnant by a colleague of hers, she gave up her son to continue pursuing her career.
    At around age thirty, Montessori was struck by the condition of children in the slums of Rome’s San Lorenzo neighborhood, and realized what she wanted to do with her life: change the school, and therefore the world, through a new approach to the child’s mind. In spite of the resistance she faced from all sides—scientists accused her of being too mystical, and the clergy of being too scientific, traditionalists of giving children too much freedom, and anarchists of giving them too much structure—she would garner acclaim and establish the influential Montessori method, which is now practiced throughout the world.
    A thorough, nuanced portrait of this often controversial woman, The Child Is the Teacher offers an unbiased perspective from an author who is not a member of the Montessori movement, but who has been granted access to original letters, diaries, notes, and texts written by Montessori herself, including an array of previously unpublished material.

About the Author


Cristina De Stefano is a journalist and writer. She lives and works in Paris as a literary scout for many publishing houses around the world. Her books Belinda e il mostro: Vita segreta di Cristina Campo (2002) and Americane avventurose (2007) have been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Polish. Her biography Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend was published by Other Press in 2017.

Gregory Conti has translated numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Italian including works by Emilio Lussu, Rosetta Loy, Elisa Biagini, and Paolo Rumiz. He is a regular contributor to the literary quarterly, Raritan.

Praise For…


“A powerfully gentle portrait of a willful and imperious child who grows into a willful and imperious adult, one whose central and profound contribution to society is the insight that teachers should heed the willfulness of small children.” —Harper’s

"In short, vignette-style chapters De Stefano documents Montessori’s unusual and groundbreaking career path…Montessori never abandoned her faith in the idea that all children, rich and poor, should be more valued, supported, and empowered. And whether we embrace her educational methods or not, in that sense we should all be more Montessorian.” —Washington Post

“This well-researched narrative bears witness to determination, setbacks, sorrow, and overwhelming success…A nuanced portrait of an educational pioneer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Readers of feminist history will savor this evenhanded profile of a groundbreaking educator and businesswoman.” —Publishers Weekly

 “A balanced, well-written, and clear-eyed portrait of a complex, trailblazing woman.” —Library Journal
 
“An intimate, comprehensive biography…[an] absorbing narrative…that rewards both intellect and emotion.” —Foreword Reviews (starred review)
 
“[The Child Is the Teacher] goes beyond the typical accounts written by disciples…It is remarkable how much of Montessori’s radical critique still rings true today.” —Reason

“With extensive access to Montessori’s unpublished diaries and letters, journalist Cristina De Stefano has written a compellingly readable account of the personal life of the famous educator.” —Dr. Mira Debs, author of Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice

“In over fifty years of reading and writing about Maria Montessori, I have never found a book, except those written by Dr. Montessori herself, that I could read from cover to cover. The Child Is the Teacher is essential for anyone interested in education, in Montessori schools for children, and in Montessori teacher training for adults.” Susan Mayclin Stephenson, author of The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three

“De Stefano’s lively new biography of Montessori is a feast—a sympathetic yet clear-eyed view of a complex, revolutionary genius whose mission was to shed new light on children, revealing conditions wherein they become the hope for all humanity. The book is extensively researched and filled with novel insights and information.” —Angeline S. Lillard, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia
 
“Cristina De Stefano brings Maria Montessori to life in her important new biography, The Child Is the Teacher. With a fresh, objective perspective as a thoughtful Italian journalist, she gained access to many new original sources that offer a unique window into the life and thoughts of one of the twentieth century’s leading agents of social change and the founder of a global movement to transform education that also led to contemporary brain research. Montessori’s life is a fascinating story in itself. This book will be a must-read work.” —Tim Seldin, President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of The International Montessori Council

“Weaving history and narrative, Cristina De Stefano takes us on the journey of feminist radical and progressive educator Maria Montessori, from her early days in the anatomy room to the hollowed-out buildings of San Lorenzo, where she envisioned a new pedagogy that placed autonomy at the center of a child’s social and intellectual development. A fascinating portrait of the controversial woman behind ‘The Children’s School,’ The Child Is the Teacher shows how the revolutionary idea about children’s rights depended on a new, peaceful philosophy of humanity.” Jaipreet Virdi, author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History

Praise for Oriana Fallaci:

“Engrossing” —The New Yorker

“It’s the first authorized biography we have of Fallaci, with access to new personal records, and welcome for that reason…it gets her story onto the page and, thanks to its subject, is never dull.” —New York Times
Product Details
ISBN: 9781635420845
ISBN-10: 1635420849
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: March 8th, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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