Science and culture around the Montessori's first “Children's Houses” in Rome (1907–1915)
Article first published online: 22 JUL 2008
© 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Volume 44, Issue 3, pages 238–257, Summer 2008
How to Cite
Foschi, R. (2008), Science and culture around the Montessori's first “Children's Houses” in Rome (1907–1915). J. Hist. Behav. Sci., 44: 238–257. doi: 10.1002/jhbs.20313
- Issue published online: 22 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 22 JUL 2008
Between 1907 and 1908, Maria Montessori's (1870–1952) educational method was elaborated at the Children's Houses of the San Lorenzo district in Rome. This pioneering experience was the basis for the international fame that came to Montessori after the publication of her 1909 volume dedicated to her “Method.” The “Montessori Method” was considered by some to be scientific, liberal, and revolutionary. The present article focuses upon the complex contexts of the method's elaboration. It shows how the Children's Houses developed in relation to a particular scientific and cultural eclecticism. It describes the factors that both favored and hindered the method's elaboration, by paying attention to the complex network of social, institutional, and scientific relationships revolving around the figure of Maria Montessori. A number of “contradictory” dimensions of Montessori's experience are also examined with a view to helping to revise her myth and offering the image of a scholar who was a real early-twentieth-century prototype of a “multiple” behavioral scientist. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.