My visitors today

Saturday 8 October 2011

Making the rounds at the PAI

Petö Institute, June 1993

Kind and strict, is that how AP was?

I have spoken to several people who knew and worked with Dr András Petö, and I have read a few accounts by others who have written about his work and how he carried this out in the groups at the institute that he created.

Most people who I have spoken to said that he ruled with a rod of iron, but they also said that he was at the same time very kind. Some of his clients described him as caring, some conductors have said as much, too, although the people working with him said that they experienced him, at one and the same time, as very strict and very grumpy but also generous.

I have heard about how Dr András Petö made daily visits to his groups to observe the developments taking place. He changed the task series at these visits according to the developments of clients, and according to the group and individual aims. The people “conducting”, (at the beginning these were not conductors, many were medical students like Mária Hári), carried out his wishes to the T.
I wondered, as I read the postings celebrating the life of Dr Mária Hári, what happened as the institute increased in size and as a training programme was developed for the people working in the groups. 
Did AP still do the rounds? Did he still rule the roost? Or did this change before Mária Hári become director? A friend of mine who qualified in 1970 remembers AP doing his daily rounds, but did he have time for each group, did he allow the conductors or Dr Mária Hári to alter the task series when appropriate?
What was MH like?
Were the trained conductors writing the programmes, observing and making changes themselves by this time or did Mária Hári take on a similar role to that of AP?
I have been told enough snippets about, and seen a few photographs of, András Petö’s daily rounds, to be able to imagine them but I have never heard any stories of Dr Mária Hári doing the same. If she did do the rounds I can imagine there was a completely different atmosphere than when the strict Dr Petö appeared at the group room door.

I cannot say that I never saw Dr Mária Hári in a group, talking to the children or discussing the work with the conductors because I do not remember. I think I saw her in the groups once or twice when VIPs were visiting, but in the late eighties when I arrived at the PAI she definitely did not “do the rounds”. I certainly did not witness anything like the phenomena that is described in some people’s memories of Dr András Petö and his work in the groups.

Did there come a point when András Petö thought that enough “research” had been done so that he was in a position to teach his helpers how to develop the programmes for the clients themselves?
I have written a few emails to conductors I know who worked at the Petö Institute and were very young ladies at the end of Petö’s life. I hope that they will remember how it was when Dr Mária Hári took on the responsibility of running the Institute. 

What, if any, changes took place?

I look forward to hearing from anyone who can tell us about any changes that took place. Did Dr Mária Hári follow in AP’s footsteps or did she forge a path of her own?

I have read somewhere, (but cannot remember where), in MH’s own words about how Petö’s presence, after he died, was missed and that she felt the pressure to continue with his work, with there being much to be done if they were to carry on in the way Petö had wished.

Please write to me with your stories or ask your older friends and mentors for theirs. As we have experienced over on Andrew Sutton’s blog this week with his Háriána series of postings it is so lovely to read about AP and MH, even if they are anecdotes like the theatre visits that rely on the memory and the experiences of the story teller.

Remembering where I read things

Last night I got home from work after eight o’clock for the third time this week. I have a busy weekend ahead and decided that before I forgot I would search immediately for the children’s history books that I needed for work on Monday morning.

In the library, my library

My library is half of my bedroom, much in the same way as my shed is half of the bathroom. The “library” desk is strewn with printed papers that I am trying to sort, all CE and upbringing-related articles that I have collected over the years. I did not get far with sorting them last night but as I went through four floor-to-ceiling, metre-wide bookshelves looking for the children’s books I found a CE book, in fact an AP book on the anatomy, neurology diseases shelf.

A mystery to me

This AP book, Petö András 1983-1993, is quite a mystery to me. I have no idea what-so-ever where it comes from. I do not remember ever having seen it before. There are lists in the back of the conductors who qualified at the PAI between 1967 and 1993, my name is there a long with many of those freshly diplomed conductors featured in the photograph published here on 6th October, but I was no longer in Budapest when this book was published. I can only assume that someone must have given it to me at sometime and I have forgotten

On placing this book in his rightful place on the CE shelf I realized that I have two whole shelves in my CE library and at least three archive books of printed articles.

I have neglected my “library” for a long time recently preferring to sit while working on my laptop next to the artist studio part of my living room.  I have a small space, with room for all that I need, between the painting table and the model railway layout.

Last night having spent two hours sorting and searching amongst my books I realised that it is time to return to my office table in the middle of my “library” and become immersed, while working, in my books again.  



Petö András 1983-1993 - Budapest 1994. September. Agro-print Kft, Gyál (94/156).

1 comment:

Gillian Maguire said...

I remember the book you refer to - it was produced to celebrate the centenary of AP's birth and is in the National Library of Conductive Education.