Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an
Italian physician, educator, philosopher, and three-time Nobel Peace
Prize nominee. She became the very first woman in Italy to receive a
degree in medicine in 1894. She worked with disabled children in Rome as
a child psychiatrist. After being appointed director of the Orthophrenic
School in 1898, Maria Montessori taught special needs children using
their environment as the educational tool. This endeavor laid the
foundation for what we know today as the Montessori Education Method.
Maria Montessori believed that if her method would work for disabled
children then it could be used to benefit normal children in a powerful
way. She once said, "Free the child's potential, and you will
transform him into the world."
Naturally, wanting to help improve education and spread love for
learning with others, Maria Montessori opened her first day care in
Rome. It was called Case dei Bambini (Children's house) and was
where she began perfecting her method. Maria Montessori realized
success in Rome with the Children's House. Her ideas and
understanding of the child psyche began to spread to other parts of
the world. The first Montessori school in the United States was
established in Tarrytown N. Y. in the year 1912. And in other
regions of the world, such as Europe and India, Montessori schools
were growing rapidly.
As Montessori became a powerful influence in India, Maria
Montessori interned at the Theosophical Society of India from 1939
to 1949. Here she created the Training Courses with the aid of her
son Mario Montessori. Maria Montessori lived out the remainder of
her life in the Netherlands, which is now the headquarters of the
Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Maria Montessori passed
away in the Netherlands in 1952 after a lifetime devoted to the
study of child development.
The Montessori Education Method has seen increases and decreases
in its popularity, but many believe that the Montessori Education
Method can be a powerful tool for education and real learning. We
can all learn more of ourselves and give our children, our greatest
treasures, love and respect when it comes to learning.