Froebel died in 1852, Montessori in 1952. The intervening century brought about a complete change in the social background of education, Froebel’s Kindergarten being founded at Blankenburg — charmingly situated at the entrance to the Schwarza Tal, one of the most picturesque and beautifully wooded valleys of Thuringia, Montessori’s House of Childhood in the slums of a European capital. The contrast determined their respective standpoints. In an ideal rural environment Froebel centred attention mainly on the endowment and development of the child. Montessori on the other hand placed the centre of gravity of her system in the environment. Thus in The Secret of Childhood she affirmed:2 ‘Our own method of education is characterised by the central importance that we attribute to the question of environment; … it is well-known how our pedagogy considers the environment so important as to make it the central point of the whole system.’
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- 2.M. Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, translated and edited by Barbara B. Carter (London: Longmans. Green & Co., 1936). pp. 69, 137.Google Scholar
- 3.M. Montessori, The Montessori Method, translated by Anne E. George (London: William Heinemann, 1912), p. 56.Google Scholar
- 1.Cf. M. Montessori, The Advanced Montessori Method, translated by Florence Simmonds and Lily Hutchinson (London: William Heinemann, 1317), vol. i, ch. 3. 2 P. 45.Google Scholar
- 1.Idiocy, p. 24. Cf. H. Holman, Séguin and his Physiological Method (London: Sir Isaac Pitman, 1914).Google Scholar
- 1.Josephine Tozier, An Educational Wonder-Worker: the Methods of Maria Montessori (New York: The House of Childhood Inc., 1912).Google Scholar
- 3.Catherine Stern, Children Discover Arithmetic: An Introduction to Structural Arithmetic (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949).Google Scholar