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In Mama Montessoriís memory

She was the mother of pre-school teaching, and her pioneering procedures are still in use over half-a-century later. With Montessoris and playhouses mushrooming all over Calcutta and the government refusing to recognise pre-primary schooling, there is very little structure and regulation regarding teaching. But what remain common to all are Maria Montessoriís methods.

Born in Italy on August 31, 1870, the psychiatrist and first doctor of the fairer sex in the country published her book The Secret of Childhood in 1936 and opened her first school in 1907.

Before her death on May 6, 1952, the two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee had changed the way toddlers were taught with her experimental techniques. Now, she has hundreds of schools named after her in over 50 countries.

On her 134th birth anniversary on Tuesday, a plethora of programmes has been lined up across the city to celebrate Maria Montessoriís life, some for teachers, others for parents and a few for the kids. Hereís a taste of what is to come at a few addresses.

Association of Montessorians of Calcutta

The event has been organised by the association at Abhinav Bharati, with a skit by the teachers of Kislaya Montessori, followed by games.

The invitees include teachers and principals but the spotlight will be on the little tykes.

The play, Middle Path, is a satire on how parents react differently to tough situations when handling their children, which can range from being overprotective or negligent and striking the right balance.

Academy of Progressive Montessori

This training institute for Montessori teachers has a workshop scheduled at Bengal Rowing Club, with a presentation by students for teachers, principals and anyone interested in toddler education. A mix and match of Montessori methods with newer developments is on the agenda. How the grand old ladyís techniques are still relevant for new subjects like kinder music and cosmic peace, plus, an overview of education at the infant, foundation and advanced levels will also be broached.

Greenage Montessori

Social awareness and alleviating suffering is the theme here. The students will be taken to St Josephís Home for the Aged on AJC Bose Road, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, for an interaction with the inmates. The toddlers will also stage a cultural programme for the elderly. At the end of it all, the Montessori will hand over donations to the home.

Dew Drops

The programme organised by this Montessori is entirely adult-oriented, with a discussion for parents and teachers on the topic Know The Child, at St Xavierís College auditorium. Expert advice and guidance will come from school principals, a paediatrician and a psychologist.

Wonderkidz

A drama, entitled The Water Cycle, depicting the natural phenomenon and using Montessori methods, will be put up by the toddlers, for the senior students of sister school Bridge International. Stalls will be put up on the grounds for a show-and-tell version of how Montessori techniques are in use today.

Bal Nilaya

Keeping it simple, a prayer service will be followed by a song and dance by the tots.

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