Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy before it became a unified country. She was one of the first women to receive a medical degree from the University of Rome. Her interest in Human Development led her to the works of her predecessors, Itard, Seguin and Pestalozzi, to name a few. Here she discovered sensory based education and she first applied it to the “deficients” of society before discovering its wider application and benefits to all others. Opportunities led her to open the first “Montessori” school called La Casa Dei Bambini, or, The Children’s House, in 1907. She can be credited with creating an environment with child-sized furnishings and carefully crafted materials to assist children in their development that were at their disposal; things we take for granted in schools or daycares today. The least that can be said of Maria Montessori is that she was a woman with incredible insight, intellect, and genius.
The Montessori experience not only embodies a well-planned environment with Montessori materials but also is a philosophy of education. The philosophy emphasizes each child’s own natural desire to learn. Dr. Montessori believed that the child learns best within a social environment that supports an individual’s unique development. Her knowledge and time-tested experiences have resulted in an international system of schools that provide children with an aesthetically pleasing, well-ordered environment that promotes freedom of choice within structure and allows the child to work at his/her own pace.
Dr. Montessori wrote many books and gave many lectures on her educational theory and practice. Her constant emphasis was on the spiritual nature of the child and the importance of striving for world peace by educating children with respect for their dignity and the dignity for all life. Twice, Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She traveled, gave training courses, and supervised additional schools as her method grew throughout the world. Dr. Maria Montessori died in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. Since her death, her work continued to grow and flourish internationally.
“A positive approach to learning is something that the children can develop at an early age." –Maria Montessori