I only had time to skim the article you linked, but one paragraph jumped out at me. The author was talking about what fantasy is:
There is, of course, an emotional aspect to their disagreement because, for many adults, their most beloved memories from childhood are related to fairy tales told by parents or other adults. We can reassure parents that the same “bonding” that is produced when reading fairy tales can be created with stories based on reality that help the child to make sense of the world around him.So wait a minute! You mean to say that the harshest critics say that something very good ("most beloved memories" and bonding) can actually be produced by the use of fantasy?
Then they say this needs to be given up? Woah theah hossie! Why? Why not add to it? Is that not an alternative? Why the mind control of denying others something good?
When I look around the world and see the overwhelming majority of people in public places taking delight in fantasies, especially during holidays, then I hear critics say that these fantasies are destructive, I stay with my observations. People even shell out big bucks to the Walt Disney company, and other similar entertainment companies, every year because their fantasies provide an enormous source of joy.
On the other end, there is nothing at all wrong with Montessori's work and everything right. More needs to be done. I agree.
Back on the other end again, I ask, why does Montessori's work have to result in total mind control of the infant regarding fantasy? Why should he be denied Walt Disney and cartoons?
I'll ask it in a different way. Why can't an infant have both reality imagining and fantasy and still be healthy psychologically? The simple answer is: he can. The market and American (and Canadian - and even Brazilian) society are proof of it.
There has been so much discussion about fantasy on this thread that a major point has been missed: how fantasy is used. That has been swept aside.
It is easy as pie to inflict some serious damage on a person with a doll house. That does not mean that doll houses and playing with them are somehow wrong. The wrong thing obviously is the person who uses the doll house as a weapon.
Now I look at your example of your daughter and you say the following:
... I went to all kinds of conspiracy to keep the spirit of Santa alive, in the heart of my daughter.May I suggest that there was something wrong here and that "something wrong" was not that Santa didn't exist?
One of the most important lessons a parent teaches a child is about himself, since he is the child's primary source of instruction. If a fantasy is taught (as a special exception) in a sense of fun and joy, when the game is up, that also turns into an occasion for more fun and joy and bantering. This kind of parent is sensitive to when his child's fun has turned into serious questioning. His child learns that even when a "joke" is played on him, there is no ill intent and he will be told what he needs to know at a proper time - and that it even will be fun. Strangely enough, he learns to trust his parent more through this process.
If a fantasy is taught specifically to undermine the child's perception of reality (regardless of how well-intentioned the reason may be), with insistence that the child is perceiving things wrongly - and with conspiracies and so forth - once strong resistance arises, IMHO, this is using a fantasy in the same manner as that person who uses a doll house as a bludgeon.
I would bet your daughter's hurt feelings 30 years later have less to do with Santa not existing and more to do with her broken image of you, her wise mother, playing her for a patsy through hell and high water.
Sorry to be so direct, but I think you completely missed out on how fantasy is supposed to be used. Thus you blame fantasy and not your misuse of it - even in light of a world of evidence all around you to the contrary. This kind of pointing at the wrong thing usually comes from pain - and what you mentioned about your daughter must have been very painful on all sides.
(I will stop here because I might be fiddling in something way too personal for comfort. Also, I am speculating only from what you said, so I am sure there are other factors I am not aware of.)