Who was Maria Montessori?
Born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori was a renowned physician, educator and the founder of the “Montessori Method” of education. Despite endless obstacles and prejudice, Montessori became the country’s first female physician in 1896. Following graduation, she worked at the Rome University Psychiatric Clinic. It was there that she became very interested in the study of children’s learning and began to develop her philosophy of education.
In 1901, she went back to school to study philosophy and psychology and was influenced by the works of renowned educators Jean Itard and Édouard Séguin. On January 6, 1907, in the San Lorenzo district of Rome, Dr. Montessori officially inaugurated the opening of the first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House). Based on a child-centered approach, the Casa dei Bambini fostered children’s natural desire to learn. News of the school’s success soon caught-on, with Montessori daycares opening throughout Italy, Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Throughout her career, Dr. Montessori travelled extensively to give lectures on her novel educational method and was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace prize. Her long life’s journey came to an end in 1952 in Holland.
Currently, there are more than 22,000 Montessori schools, in 110 countries worldwide.