Who was Maria Montessori?
MARIA MONTESSORI was born in 1870 in Acona., Italy. To understand her unique method of education it is important to know something of her background. The child of a progressive and ambitious family, she chose to study engineering and mathematics at a time when higher education for girls was considered unnecessary. Even more remarkable, she went on to qualify as the first woman doctor in her countries history. It is hardly surprising therefore that from such a remarkable woman came remarkable views. Dr. Montessori first made history by being the first woman physician in Italy. Her first interest as a physician was to care for the 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. She began to develop special learning materials to help them to enter public schools and successfully compete with normal children. She believed that if her method achieved such startling results with retarded children then these same methods could improve the performance of normal children.
In l907 she opened her first school, in a slum area of San Lorenzo. Fame and recognition now came quickly to Montessori. The press of the world was recording stories of how successful her methods were. Visitors came from many parts of the world to see for themselves.The visitors were inspired and the Montessori Movement began to spring up all over the world. Montessori schools opened in places as widely separated as America, Russia, Japan, Germany and India, to name only some.
Maria Montessori now spent all her time on her new work, training teachers, writing and giving public lectures. Dr. Maria Montessori left behind a wonderful legacy: a philosophy of life, a unique method of education, materials, with which to educate, and a system of training which is capable of producing teachers who give the children the best possible foundation for life.