Mario Montessori Jr
Mario Lorenzo Maria Montessori
April 22, 1921
|February 25, 1993 (aged 71)
|Zorgvlied, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
|College for Tropical Agriculture
|Cornelie Elly Montessori (van der Linde), marriage: 1952, born: 4 April 1918, in Batavia, The Netherlands-Indië
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Mario Montessori Jr. (1921-1993) was a remarkable figure known for his contribution to Montessori education, psychology, and advocacy for disadvantaged groups. The grandson of Maria Montessori, he carried forward his family's educational legacy in the Netherlands and made significant strides in psychoanalysis, closely following the theories of Sigmund Freud. Despite the hurdles he encountered in his early life and the global unrest during his youth, he used these experiences to fuel his dedication to helping others, manifesting in both his professional and personal life. This article delves into the multifaceted life of Mario Montessori Jr., tracing his journey from his birthplace in Barcelona to his impactful career in Amsterdam.
Early Life and Education
Mario Montessori Jr. was born in Barcelona in 1921. During his early life, he lived in several cities including Naples, Milan, Rome, and London. In London, he attended a Montessori children's house. During the Spanish civil war in 1936, he and his brother found refuge in the Netherlands with the Pierson family. He completed his high school education at Baarns Lyceum in the Netherlands.
Initial Career and World War II Experience
Originally, Montessori aspired to become an expert in tropical agriculture and pursued his studies in this field at the College for Tropical Agriculture in Deventer. However, with the onset of World War II and the conscription of Italian men by Mussolini, Montessori joined the resistance movement in Amsterdam. During this period, he was involved in courier activities, transporting materials like microfilms, weapons, and ammunition.
Career in Psychoanalysis
Following the war, Montessori decided to shift his career focus and began studying psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He initially trained in Carl Jung's analytical psychology, but was more drawn to the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud. He found many of Freud's theories mirrored the teachings of his grandmother, Maria Montessori. Montessori went on to work at a psychiatric facility in Santpoort and later became a self-employed psychoanalyst in Amsterdam. He made significant contributions to the Dutch and international Professional Association for Psychoanalysts.
Advocacy for Disadvantaged Groups
Montessori dedicated his career to providing support to various groups of people in distress. These included children of Dutch followers of Hitler, Chilean refugees who had fled Pinochet's regime, and Berber children who were struggling to adapt to life in Amsterdam.
Contribution to Montessori Education in the Netherlands
Concerned about the quality of Montessori education in the Netherlands, Montessori founded the ‘Stichting Montessori Centrum’ (SMC) to improve it. He served as the secretary of the SMC and contributed significantly to enhancing the quality control of Montessori schools in the country.
Recognition and Family Life
For his social commitment, Montessori was honored as an Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, much like his grandmother, Maria Montessori. He and his wife, Elly van der Linde, raised five children. His eldest daughter, Carolina, continues to contribute to the Montessori legacy by organizing the AMI archive.
- The Montessori Family by Fred Kelpin