Maria Montessori was born in August 31, 1870. She was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology& education. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a “blank slate” waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are; •Preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child •Observing the child living freely in this environment Continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his greatest potential — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually The Early Years Maria Montessori was always a little ahead of her time. At age thirteen, against the wishes of her father but with the support of her mother, she began to attend a boys’ technical school. After seven years of engineering she began premed and, in 1896 became a physician.
In her work at the University of Rome psychiatric clinic Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of special needs children and, for several years, she worked, wrote, and spoke on their behalf. Miss Maria as an Educationalist Maria lectures on the importance of educating disabled children at a national medical congress and at a national teacher’s congress in Turin, Italy. She travelled to London and Paris to study the work of earlier pioneers in this field, Jean Itard and Edouard Seguin. In 1898 Maria becomes a member of the National League for the Education of Retarded Children.
Maria is appointed co-director with Dr. Giuseppe Montesano of the State Orthophrenic School (for mentally retarded children) in Rome. In 1898 Maria becomes a member of the National League for the Education of Retarded Children. Maria is appointed co-director with Dr. Giuseppe Montesano of the State Orthophrenic School (for mentally retarded children) in Rome . She leaves the Orthophrenic School in 1901 and returns to the University to study psychology and philosophy. The University of Rome appoints Maria as a lecturer in science and medicine, and she chairs the
Department of Anthropology House of Children She was given the opportunity to study “normal” children, taking charge of fifty poor children of the dirty, desolate streets of the San Lorenzo slum on the outskirts of Rome in 1907. The news of the unprecedented success of her work in this Casa dei Bambini “House of Children” soon spread around the world, people coming from far and wide to see the children for themselves. Dr. Montessori was as astonished as anyone at the realized potential of these children: The Montessori Method Maria’s book, The Montessori Method, is published in Italian Anne George, an American, and goes to Rome to take Maria’s training course. The first American Montessori School opens in Tarrytown, New York; this is the result of great interest in a long article about Montessori that was published in the American magazine, McClure. Maria’s book The Montessori Method is translated into English. in1912.
Maria visits the U. S. for the first time due to Sam McClure’s persuasion; there are already over one hundred Montessori schools in operation. Maria gives a lecture at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. . The Montessori American Committee becomes the Montessori Educational Association under the direction of Mabel Bell (Alexander Graham Bell’s wife) as president. Spain’s first Montessori school opens. Success of Montessori’s Method Since her death an interest in Dr. Montessori’s methods have continued to spread throughout the world. Her message to those who emulated her was always to turn one’s attention to the child, to “follow the child”. It is because of this basic tenet, and the observation guidelines left by her, that Dr. Montessori’s ideas will never become obsolete.
The potential of the child is not just mental, but is revealed only when the complete “Montessori method” is understood and followed. The child’s choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration is reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually, a child who cares deeply about other people and the world, and who works to discover a unique and individual way to contribute. This is the essence of real “Montessori” work today.