For information contact Pakistan Montessori Association
Telephone Nos.34543952 34549103 or email [email protected] or visit our website www.pakistanmontessoriassociation.org
Affiliated with Association Montessori Internationale (AMI),
Established in 1949 by Dr. Maria Montessori and re-activated in 1964 by Mrs. Gool K Minwalla.
PMA’s activities include:
The Pakistan Montessori Association was established in 1949. Dr. Maria Montessori was invited by Mrs. Gool Minwalla to Karachi to inaugurate the first Pakistan Montessori Teacher’s Training Course. Mrs. Minwalla was fortunate to have studied and worked with Dr. Montessori, who held her in high esteem. She was the pioneer and guiding force behind the Montessori movement in Pakistan. It was her fervour and commitment which established the Montessori training course and revolutionized the early education for preschool children. It also provided countless women the ability to earn an independent living.
PMA remained inactive in the new state until 1964 when Mrs. Gool Minwalla represented Pakistan at the Montessori World Congress in Amsterdam. The second Montessori training was held in 1966. After that began the major activity of training teachers, parents and adults who worked with children. Mrs. Minwalla had a group of dedicated helpers like Mrs. Gool B. Rustomjee, Mrs. Majida Sufi, Mrs. Gul Thanavalla, Mrs. Arifa Saifie, Mrs. Habiba Thobani and Mrs. Piroja Irani who were the mainstay of the PMA training and activities. Training courses were held every year and Montessori directresses multiplied and Montessori schools were opened.
In 1985, the 20th International Montessori Congress was organized at Karachi by PMA. It was the first international congress to be held in South Asia. Dr. Montessori’s grandson, Mario Montessori, Renilde Montessori and Mr. Portiellge, President AMI, the Netherlands, attended the Congress. Over 300 delegates participated. Of these more than one third attended from 14 countries outside Pakistan.
In 1990, the 23rd Montessori Teacher Training Course was held in Lahore. It was the first training course outside Karachi, and was inaugurated by Dr. Mario Montessori, Jr., the grandson of Dr. Maria Montessori.
Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Begum Shaista Ikramullah ,Begum Nasra Wazirali and Professor Anita Ghulamali were among the distinguished persons who have served as the Chief Patrons of the Association.
At present the Chief Patron is Dr. Ismail Saad.
The PMA regularly organizes workshops for its members on various Montessori topics. The pedagogical committee also visits Montessori schools and registers them with the Association if they are being run on Montessori grounds. Further, it runs a school, by the name of Montessori Children’s Villa, for 100 children.
2007 was the centenary year of the establishment of the first school by Dr. Maria Montessori in the suburbs of Rome, Italy. The PMA celebrated the year by unveiling a plaque at the Jamshed Memorial Hall where the first training course was held under Dr. Montessori, a Walk for Montessori children at the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam and holding an Art Exhibition of children of Montessori schools and finally, organizing a Seminar on Parental Guidance at the Aga Khan University Hospital Auditorium for parents, teachers and general public.
The Association plans to adopt a school for the underprivileged in a slum area as soon as its finances permit it to realize this dream. In the meantime, the Association is already helping out by way of guidance in establishment of proper Montessori schools all over the city.
Gool Minwala: The Guiding Light of PMA
Gool Minwalla was born on May 1, 1913. At the age of 17 she started working as a volunteer in the welfare field, coming into contact with the sick, the blind and juvenile delinquents.
In October 1939, Dr. Maria Montessori conducted the first teacher training course at Abyar, Madras; Gool Minwalla was one of the students.
In 1941, she started the first Montessori children’s Home in the subcontinent which was recognized by AMI.
Later, with the co-operation of Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta, She was instrumental in inviting Dr. Montessori to visit Karachi in 1946, and once again in 1949, since 1965, Gool Minwalla has been the guiding light behind the Montessori Teacher Training Course, under the auspices of Pakistan Montessori Association (PMA) of which she was a co-founder.
Besides the Montessori movement, she had been involved in social work for more than sixty-five years. She was appointed the first chairperson of the National Council of Social Welfare by the Government of Pakistan. She was also nominated by the GOP as the correspondent on the UN Commission of the prevention of Crime and Treatment of offenders. She has been on the Board of Governors of countless social and welfare organizations, schools and NGOs including Karachi Development Authority (KDA), All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA), Mama Parsi Girls’ Secondary School and Ida Riau Poor Welfare Association.
The Government of Pakistan had recognized her services to the nation by awarding her a sitar-e-lmtiaz.
Her dedication to making education meaningful to life is echoed in the way she lived her own life simply and in service of others.
Pakistan, and PMA, was indeed lucky to have her as a guiding force.
At the 7th World Zoroastrian Congress held at Houston in December 2000 she was placed in the hall of fame created under the name of daughters of masshyani (first woman on earth). 20 ladies of the centenary were selected from all over the world and she was one of them.
Dr. Maria Montessori
Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to practise medicine in Italy, having graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realised that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. She also observed the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto didactic materials she provided.
Her approach to education stemmed from a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology . She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, soon seeing the universality of the laws of human development played out before her. She continued her observations throughout her life, widening and deepening her understanding until her death in 1952.
Maria Montessori opened her first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) in one of the very poorest areas in Rome, the then notorious Quartiere di San Lorenzo.
“It was January 6th (1907), when the first school was opened for small, normal children of between three and six years of age. I cannot say on my methods, for these did not yet exist. But in the school that was opened my method was shortly to come into being. On that day there was nothing to be seen but about fifty wretchedly poor children, rough and shy in manner, many of them crying, almost all the children of illiterate parents, who had been entrusted to my care”… “They were tearful, frightened children, so shy that it was impossible to get them to speak; their faces were expressionless, with bewildered eyes as though they had never seen anything in their lives.”… “It would be interesting to know the original circumstances that enabled these children to undergo such an extraordinary transformation, or rather, that brought about the appearance of new children, whose souls revealed themselves with such radiance as to spread a light through the whole world.”
Indeed it was as though this radiance had been caught in a stream of consciousness, for a mere six months after the opening of the Casa dei Bambini, people from all walks of life, from every continent came to see Maria Montessori’s miracle children.
In 1909 she gave her first Montessori course, expecting to have as students only Italian teachers. To her amazement people attended from many different countries. Probably that was the origin of what would become a serious handicap in the evolution of Montessori pedagogy.
“Since the beginning Montessori pedagogy has been appropriated, interpreted, misinterpreted, exploited, propagated, torn to shreds and the shreds magnified into systems, reconstituted, used, abused and disabused, gone into oblivion and undergone multiple renaissances.” (Renilde Montessori)