Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952)

Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) first made history by being the first woman physician in Italy – she later became the world famous Educator and Psychologist with her research and experimentation in early childhood development.
Her first interest as a physician was to care for deficient and retarded children, where, basing her work on the principles evolved by two French doctors and educators – Seguin and Itard. She found she was able to bring certain of these children to a higher level of development that enabled them to enter public schools and successfully compete with normal children.
This led her to look more closely into the natural ways of development of normal children. Her observations made her realize that the natural aptitude of children and their potential for development were being overlooked and not harnessed in a way that would bring the greatest benefit to their growth. She delved deeply into how children learn; how they build themselves from what they find in their immediate environment. She had the intuition and insight to recognize that a growing child has keen sensitivities and a highly absorbent mind. That children take in impressions and learn patterns of behavior, knowledge and skills through a series of personal experiences offered in the environment around them, and that these are the first steps of learning in their lives.
In 1906 she accepted the challenge to work with children in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was here that she founded the first "Casa dei Bambini". Here is where the Montessori method of education was developed. Every exercise, every method, every piece of equipment Dr. Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do naturally, by themselves, unassisted by adults. She summarized these experiences in her first book titled, "The Discovery of the Child."

Dr. Maria Montessori died in Noordwijk, Holland, in 1952. Her invaluable work and discoveries are still in practice today. There are numerous Montessori schools around the world, each carrying on her profound methodology to help in the education of young children.
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