|Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 1952)
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
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."
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.