Informative meeting


Various sources of information, including reports and research findings give continued inspiration for our educational work in MATURANAHAUS.

These enrich our personal quest to respect individual development and both complement and broaden the horizon for the non-directive accompaniment of children and youths. The basic concepts of Maria Montessori, the testimonials of Rebeca and Mauricio Wild, the findings of Humberto Maturana, Emmi Pikler and Jean Piaget, along with other concepts of progressive education, psychology and neurological research have been our most important inspiration.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Italian physician and educator, emphasized absolute trust in the inner forces of child development.

She recognized that human growth follows a pattern of inner development which was created by the evolutionary process, a kind of "inner blueprint" inherent in each of us. In order for children to follow their inner plan, they require an appropriate prepared environment for individual activity, freedom of choice, and the attentive, non-corrective accompaniment of an adult.

M. Montessori developed extensive materials for specific individual activity for all age groups. In her observations of child development, she noted various so-called "sensitive phases" in which children focus on certain activities with particular attention and concentration.

M. Montessori demanded that adults sincerely respect the child's personality and make sensitive, precise observations so that children can experience gratifying, concentrated work, thus enabling what she called the "normalization of the child": the satisfied fulfilment of personal potential.

"The role of the environment is not to form the child but to allow him to reveal himself."
(M. Montessori)

Rebeca und Mauricio Wild founded an alternative kindergarten and school named Pesta in Ecuador at the end of the nineteen seventies.

kevinBased on Montessori's principles, they developed a comprehensive view of children's developmental needs and stressed the importance ofa prepared relaxed environment which enables self-directed developmental processes.

Their work with children, youths and adults also led to the establishment of an alternative economic system as well as a general wish to create new structures which respect individual life processes for people of all ages.

"The harmonious development of children is a natural and, consequently, a slow process. Our task therefore is to create appropriate conditions for this development, but not to accelerate the process. If, however, we as adults can manage not to disturb these inner processes through our impatience, but instead to supply the necessary sustenance, then the children learn to stand on their own feet – and thus learn to never be dependent on external leadership."
(R. Wild)

Humberto Maturana, Chilean biologist and neuroscientist, developed a comprehensive systemic theory of knowledge in cooperation with Francisco Varela.

faltenThey postulated that any living system, from single-cell organisms to humans, produces and regenerates itself in interaction with its environment. To describe this process they coined the term "autopoiese": "auto" Greek. = self, "poein" = create). = make.

Learning is not a copying or an inner representation of the environment, but a dynamic interaction between the inside and the outside, during which the compatibility between the workings of the organism and its environment need to be maintained. Maturana and Varela call this structural linkage, a mutual structural transformation of both the environment and the autopoietic unit.

Emmi Pikler (1902-1984), a Hungarian pediatrician and director of a home for infants, focused her work on independent, active development in infancy.

She wanted to respect this independence and support it with a mindful parent-child relationship. An important aspect is attentive care of the child, which respects his or her impulses and willingness to cooperate from day one. When children are fulfilled and are given the proper attention and care, they develop independently through motion and play.

E. Piklers goal was for adults to perceive the real needs of the child, learn to satisfy them, and prepare a protected environment in which the child can do his or her "work" without being disturbed. For years she supported adults in gaining confidence in children's natural development and individual pace instead of interfering and directing.

"A child who attains a goal through independent experimenting gains a different kind of knowledge from one who is offered a complete solution."
(E. Pikler)

Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss developmental psychologist, developed a comprehensive theory of cognitive child development during years of research.

He described various progressive stages of development in which thinking patterns changed from a sensorimotor, egocentric perspective and progressed sequentially to arrive at a a formal-hypothetical one. Fulfilling the conditions and needs of one stage forms the necessary basis for the next one.

For example, he recognized that in accordance with these stages, children only develop their ability to think in abstract logical and reflected terms from the age of twelve onwards. Until this age they require extensive practical experiences in order to form cognitive structures.

Piaget considered children active, constructive and self-regulating organisms, whose development occurs in interaction with innate and environmental factors.

"Children strive to become adults, not by having things comprehensively explained or demonstrated to them but by exploring on their own and making independent experiences."
(J. Piaget)