Dr. Preciosa S. Soliven completed her doctorate degree in Educational Management in 2002 at the Centro Escolar University through its linkage with the University of Adelaide, Australia. She was conferred with the Doctor of Humanities degree (honoris causa) by the University of the Visayas, Cebu City, in 1998. She completed her Montessori primary and elementary courses at Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in Perugia and Bergamo, Italy, on scholarship in 1964 and 1969, respectively. She also specialized in Montessori Language Arts in London, England.
In 1966, Dr. Soliven established the first O.B. Montessori School at the Syquia Apartments in Malate, Manila. To make the public aware of the Montessori system of education, she became a TV producer, scriptwriter, and host of “Montessori for the Home” and “Montessori for Everyone” that were aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2 from 1970–1973.
She was the Philippine representative to the UNESCO Paris Executive Board from 1986–1987, and eventually became an active member of the Education Committee of UNESCO Philippines from 1990–2001.
In 1983, Dr. Soliven established the O.B. Montessori Child and Community Foundation and the Pagsasarili Preschools in economically challenged communities of Metro Manila. She created the Mothercraft Training and Literacy Course for Village Mothers that won the 1993 UNESCO International Literacy Award in New Delhi, India. To date, more than 200 Pagsasarili Preschools in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao have been established.
Dr. Soliven has written several books: CONCEP Manual- Planning the Young Child’s Education (1996); Half a Millennium of Philippine History (1998); Pagsasarili Mothercraft Literacy Course for Local and Overseas Filipino Working Women (2002); and How Well Do You Know the Wonders of Your Children (2016). From 1990–2019, her Thursday column for the Philippine Star, “A Point of Awareness,” has focused on education, travel, and social behavior.
Oscar J. Arellano was a Filipino architect and the president of the Manila Chapter of the Junior chamber of Commerce (or Jaycees) in the early 1950s. He organized Operation Brotherhood (OB), a humanitarian project to address the medical needs of the Indochinese refugees. Filipino volunteers joined the team of doctors and nurses who rendered medical services and community development assistance to the refugees.
In October 1954, aboard a Philippine Red Cross plane, seven (7) Filipino doctors and three (3) nurses flew to Saigon as part of the pioneering team of OB.
After ending their work in Vietnam in 1956 and helping 730,000 people, OB went to Laos. By 1975 they had treated close to a million Laotians and deployed a total of 450 Filipino volunteers.
Operation Brotherhood became an inspiration to the rest of the world with its work and advocacy antedating the American and Japanese Peace Corps programs by several years.
When Operation Brotherhood (OB) started its work in the Philippines in 1963, village projects became its priority including schools for the poor. OB was responsible for the relocation of 3,000 families from Intramuros, Manila to Sapang Palay, Bulacan.
It was during this time that Oscar Arellano invited a young teacher, Preciosa Soliven, to organize a nursery school for the children in the community to keep them busy while their parents were at work.
Operation Brotherhood became the mother organization of Operation Brotherhood Montessori Center (OBMC) when the school was established in 1966.
Dr. Maria Montessori was, in many ways, a woman ahead of her time. She was born in the town of Chiaravalle, in the Italian province of Ancona, in 1870 to Alessandro Montessori and his wife, Renilde Stoppani. Upon her graduation from medical school in 1896, she became the first female physician in Italy.
In her clinical practice, her observations led her to analyze how children with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn, and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment. Shifting her focus from the body to the mind, she returned to the university in 1901, this time to study psychology and philosophy.
In 1904, she was made a professor of anthropology at the University of Rome. By this time, an idea was germinating within her—the idea that the only path to a better, more peaceful world was through children who were properly developed in responsibility, independence, and productivity on intellectual, spiritual, and social levels.
Her desire to help children was so strong that in 1906 she gave up both her university chair and her medical practice to work with sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It became the first Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, established on one fundamental base: “The liberty of the pupils in their spontaneous manifestations.”
Her work here showed the world that young children are capable of much more, development-wise and accomplishment-wise, than anyone previously thought possible. They are the potential builders of society.
More than three generations have passed since the year 1907 when the name Montessori flashed like a comet across the sphere of education. Dr. Maria Montessori had a dream and a hope that the 20th century would be the century of the child. The passage of time has proven that her dream was fulfilled.