MARIA MONTESSORI (1870 - 1952)

Biography

Maria Montessori was a 20th Century pioneer in education.

After being the very first female doctor to graduate in Italy, she quickly turned her interests to the education of children, and began her lifelong study of the human development.

Maria Montessori's first work with children began in 1898 at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome, an asylum for children deemed "deficient and insane". She quickly realized that these children, left to themselves with no care, needed different teaching principles and methods. She therefore created a series of learning materials which would meet their specific needs, and she trained teachers to present these materials to them in a specific way. The results she obtained through her work were extraordinary, and was proclaimed miraculous.

Soon, Maria Montessori decided to widen her work to "normal" children. The extent of her success was such that she realized that if her method worked so well with deficient children, it would surely also benefit all children. In 1907, she opened her first school, Casa de Bambini, in San Lorenzo. Soon, many more schools opened in Italy, as in other countries, and her work became known as the « The Montessori Method ».

In 1929, Maria Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale to continue her work. She spent the rest of her life advocating for children, their rights, and acknowledging their importance as hope for future world peace.

By the time of her death in 1952, Maria Montessori's recognition was worldwide.
She obtained numerous awards, and was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.