Montessori

Helen Keller and Montessori

Story by November 25, 2010
Helen Keller, who referred to herself as a "product of Montessori", captured on video with her innovative teacher Anne Sullivan.

The vintage footage is circa 1930’s and showcases the incredible pedagogical feats this pair achieved. The original video is displayed on the Open Culture website. You can view it here.

It’s worth noting that in the preface to Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Maria Montessori elaborates on the inspiration behind Helen Keller and her revolutionary teacher. Here’s Montessori, in full:

“If a preface is a light which should serve to illumine the contents of a volume, I choose, not words, but human figures to illustrate this little book intended to enter families where children are growing up. I therefore recall here, as an eloquent symbol, Helen Keller and Mrs. Anne Sullivan Macy, who are, by their example, both teachers to myself – and, before the world, living adornments of the miracle in education.

In fact Helen Keller is a marvelous example of the phenomenon common to all human beings: the possibility of the liberation of the imprisoned spirit of man by the education of the senses. Here lies the basis of the method of education of which the book gives a succinct idea.

If one only of the senses sufficed to make of Helen Keller a woman of exceptional culture and a writer, who better than she proves the potency of that method of education which builds on the sens- es? If Helen Keller attained through exquisite natural gifts to an elevated conception of the world, who better than she proves that in the inmost self of man lies the spirit ready to reveal itself

Helen clasp in your heart these little children, since they, above all others, will understand you. They are your younger brothers: when, with bandaged eyes and in silence, they touch with their little hands, profound impressions rise in their consciousness, and they exclaim with a new form of happiness: “I see with my hands.” They alone, then, can fully understand the drama of the mysterious privilege your soul has known.”

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