Maria Montessori

[Maria Montessori]Born in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy. She was the first and only woman in her graduating class at the University of Rome La Sapienza Medical School. After working in the university’s psychiatric clinic with children who were regarded “uneducatable,” she gave a lecture about the training of the disabled at the Educational Congress in Torino in 1896. The Italian Minister of Education who was in attendance was so impressed with her lecture that he offered her a position at an institution which served only the mentally disabled. Wanting to prove her theories, she accepted.

At the end of the year, several of her 8 year old students took State examinations for reading and writing. Those disabled children not only passed, but scored above average on the standardized tests! Maria concluded that if children with mental disabilities achieved this kind of success through her method, typical children would respond even more favorably. She opened her first school for these children, the “Casa dei Bambini,” or Children’s House in Rome on January 6, 1907.

[Maria at Desk]Maria observed that children in their very earliest years, from birth through six years of age, have what she called “absorbent minds” which soak up information at an unprecedented rate. Their exposure to life is a learning experience during this time therefore critical to their future development. She discovered that children learn best in a nurturing environment with materials that stimulate their interest. They learn respect for themselves, others and their environment when they are treated respectfully. This formed the basis for the Montessori Method.

(Wikipedia contributors. "Maria Montessori." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012.)


A Timeline of the Life of Maria Montessori

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