Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravelle, Italy, August 31, 1870. Her parents tried to convince her to become a teacher, but Maria was interested in mathematics and engineering. In 1883, Montessori attended a technical school where she became interested in biology and the field of medicine, which Pope Leo declared to be “the best profession for women.” In 1896, Montessori became the first woman doctor to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. She joined the staff of the University Psychiatric clinic where she worked with developmentally delayed children.
In 1900, she returned to the University of Rome to study philosophy, psychology, and anthropology. In 1907, Montessori opened the first “Casa de Bambini” (Children’s House) in the slums of SanLorenzo, Italy. It was here that Montessori first realized the powerful learning abilities of the younger child and witnessed the conversion of the child through normalization. By 1909, all of Italian Switzerland was using the Montessori method in all of their orphan asylums and children’s houses. In 1910, the teaching of religion was developed in a Casa in Barcelona.
In 1912, Montessori made her first visit to the U.S. and the American Montessori Association was formed. In 1915, a Montessori classroom was set up at the San Francisco World’s Fair where it won two gold medals for education. In 1922, Montessori was appointed government inspector of school in Italy. In 1934, because of her resistance to the policies of Mussolini, Montessori was banned in Italy. She spent her exile in India where she developed the 6-12 curriculum and worked for peace. In 1946, Montessori returned to Europe where she lectured on “the child as the constructor of peace”. In 1952, Dr. Maria Montessori died at age 81, and is buried in Holland.
The Montessori Experience
Progressing through the Montessori experience,
Children develop respect for themselves and others
Gain confidence in their abilities
Find joy in discovery
Realize their place in the world and their responsibility for the same
Evolve into competent, critical thinkers
And discover that learning is for life.