Milestone - ALL : Citation - Phyllis Wallbank : Event News.
In recognition of Mrs Phyllis WallBank's education and societal contribution, Montessorian World International conferred her the title, Honorary CMEd Certified Montessorian Educator on the 13th October 2007 in Shanghai China.
Mrs. Phyllis Wallbank in 1948 founded the first Montessori school in England where adults learned with children: what eventually became known as the Gatehouse Learning Centre. It was described by Buckminster Fuller in the following terms: "So thoroughly conceived and created that it allows the children to do their own learning while avoiding:
their being shorn of their innate sensitivities,
being deprived of their innate genius,
having their spontaneous trust betrayed."
In 1964, the Phyllis Wallbank Educational Trust, the PWET, was established by friends and family in order to advance the character of Phyllis’s work in education. Currently Phyllis serves as the director of the Trust.
Phyllis began her life’s work as a Froebel-trained teacher who later studied psychology at the University of London. However, working in juvenile courts as a Children’s Officer in Buckinghamshire, England, she realized that they have first to appreciate themselves and get to know their own worth so that then they use their own character's talents and contribute to society through those talents. Far fewer children would become delinquent if they could be educated to assume their own personal responsibilities and so take their rightful place in society.
To do this, she trained under Dr. Maria Montessori and became, for many years, a close personal friend. Phyllis often visited her in Holland. In Dr. Montessori’s later years, she served as her examiner for both the ordinary and the advanced courses, jointly examining with Dr. Montessori. She also served as Chairman of the Montessori Association in England and, for many years, Vice President of the International Montessori Association. Phyllis also organized the last International Montessori Congress, which met in London shortly before Dr. Montessori’s death.
In 1980, Phyllis gained a diploma in Theology at Maynooth, Ireland. When walking along the Thames Embankment in 1985, with her sister after seeing a play, Phyllis encountered a homeless elderly lady whom she tried to help, later, that same night with a gift of food and clothing. The encounter led Phyllis to return every week on Monday nights with gifts of food and clothing. A new ministry emerged dedicated to helping homeless and destitute people who live by the Thames Embankment: the London Run. Volunteers gather every Monday night at Our Lady of Peace Church on Britwell Road, Burnham and, from there, drive into inner London in cars stuffed with food and clothing. These goods are then distributed to the poor and needy. In 1990, a new charity was established based on this work: the London Run Charitable Trust although the regular Monday night visits to the poor and destitute continue as a separate activity among volunteers “who gather out of care, out of love.”
In 1996, Phyllis was created a member of the Order of the British Empire, an honor given her by H. M. Queen Elizabeth II. In the same year, Pope John Paul II decorated her with the Benemerenti Medal. She continues to be used by Eton College when needed to give specialist assistance to individual students. Besides this work, Phyllis also serves on the Parliamentary Issues Committee of the Catholic Union of Great Britain (addressing matters to be discussed before upcoming sessions of Parliament). Phyllis had been invited to become a member after having been voted recently as “Catholic Woman of the Year.”
Phyllis has lectured at a wide variety of colleges and conferences. In 2007 Phyllis Wallbank toured various countries around the world and gave the Centenary Lecture in memory of Maria Montessori.
In recognition of her long commitment to Education and her numerous sociogenetic endevors and contributions, Montessorian World International awarded her the Honorary CMEd Certified Montessorian Educator Award.