Salon #5 – Genevieve Vaughan and Chiquie Estrada



Salon #05 - January 30, 2021

Genevieve Vaughan and Chiquie Estrada

Genevieve Vaughan

Presentation title: Fundamentals of the Maternal Gift Economy in Early Childhood

The basic human 'operating system' is laid down by the maternal gift economy that motherers have to practice towards young children, who cannot give them an equivalent in return. The unilateral altercentric giving and receiving interaction sculpts the neuron connections after birth and is the foundation of all human relationships. At around age, three children begin to learn an opposite ego oriented 'operating system' based on exchange, quid pro quo, that contradicts and exploits the gift mode and is prevalent in a patriarchal capitalist society.

By recognizing that the maternal gift paradigm still exists as we become adults and is the main source of our positive interactions and interpretations of the world as well as of specifically human capacities like language, we can step back from the economy, the mindset and the behaviors that are presently devastating Mother Earth and all her children.


Genevieve Vaughan (b.1939) is an independent researcher who lives part time in Italy and part in Texas. She created the multicultural all-woman activist Foundation for a Compassionate Society (1987-2005) and the Temple of Sekhmet in the Nevada desert (1992 – ongoing) and she co-created the network: International Feminists for a Gift Economy (2001 – ongoing). Her books are For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange (1997), Homo Donans (2006) and The Gift in the Heart of Language: the Maternal Source of Meaning (2015). She has edited Il Dono/The Gift (2004), Women and the Gift Economy (2007) and The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy (2019). A volume of the Canadian Women’s Studies Journal dedicated to the maternal gift economy has just appeared (2020).

More information @ www.gift-economy.com.


Chiquie Estrada

Presentation title: Maternal Gift Economy in Pre-school Education

In 2002, in agreement with Genevieve Vaughan, I started the first Montessori School, La Casa dei Bambini, in the town of Kyle, Texas. The Montessori method of education is highly recognized worldwide for early childhood education, but often not affordable for the common people. The Montessori approach and the Gift Economy have common principles. They facilitate giving the children experiences based in the maternal gift paradigm, instead of following the patriarchal practices that society has established. In this talk I am going to share with you my experiences in how this approach, at a formative age, can mold the children’s minds and hearts, helping them to integrate maternal behavior patterns within themselves. This allows the children to grow to enjoy and participate in a respectful, peaceful and giving environment. When these children grow up, they will tend to understand and practice Gift Economy since they have been exposed to it positively at an early age in the social environment of the school. They will have the knowledge and capacity to change the world.


Chiquie Estrada, owner of La Casa dei Bambini in Kyle, Texas.

Supporting children to reach their full potential in a holistic way is my passion; guiding children’s self development by linking them to the activities in a prepared classroom and outdoor environment is my calling.

I was born in Guatemala and moved to the USA in 1976 where I began my journey with Montessori as a teacher’s assistant in 1977. After training as a guide in 1978 with the Association Montessori International in Atlanta, Georgia, I worked at several Montessori schools in Austin, Texas.

It was there that met my good friend Genevieve Vaughan in 1986 and became acquainted with the Gift Economy. In 2002, because of Genevieve, I was able to open La Casa dei Bambini; which combines the philosophy and practice of Montessori with the Gift Economy.

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