Charlotte Mason's Great Recognition
Camille Malucci, Deani Van Pelt
Charlotte Mason’s Great Recognition
Within these pages we delve into the detail and relevance of Charlotte Mason's Great Recognition. Mason (1842-1923), educationalist, philosopher, and friend to many parents in England and across the globe, asked much of both parents and children because she thought highly of them. Seeing the struggles of parents raising children in an age of progress, rapid change, and secularization, Mason gave a vision for a life that could both embrace the challenges they faced and transcend them. In Parents and Children, Mason wrote about her Great Recognition which was inspired by a fresco in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, that she encountered while on tour in 1893, guided by John Ruskin's Mornings in Florence along with art critic and friend, Julia Firth. The Great Recognition offered an idea that "resolves the discord in our lives of which most of us, more or less, are aware" (Mason, 1896/1989, p. 274). Encouraged by Mason's (1896/1989) words-"I hope the reader will continue to study Mr. Ruskin's exposition of the 'Vaulted Book' in Mornings in Florence: it is wonderfully full of teaching and suggestion" (p. 269)-in this piece we contextualize Mason's Great Recognition, identify and explore many of the components within the fresco, and then discuss the implications of her insights, as she saw them for education in her time and as we see them for education in ours.
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