"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". Nelson Mandella
"Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment". Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
Dr. Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy. She graduated with high honors from the University of Rome in 1896. She specialized in pediatrics and psychiatry. In the 1900's she began to extensively research early childhood development and education to include the studies of 18th and 19th century French physicians Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard and Édouard Séguin.
In 1907 under the auspices of the Italian government Maria Montessori opened her first school called "Casa de Bambini" or "The Children's House" in the slums of Rome. The school enabled Montessori to create the "prepared learning" environment she believed was conducive to sense learning and creative exploration. Teachers were encouraged to stand back and "follow the child"—that is, to let children's natural interests take the lead. Her new method of education drew fascinating results; Children, who were otherwise considered disobedient and lacking empathy now seemed calm, interested in learning and eager to help one another.
Her theories further spread throughout Europe and the United States. By 1925 more than 1,000 of her schools had opened in America.
Throughout her life Montessori developed scientifically precise materials that enable and encourage children to learn through their senses. We see these materials in our Montessori Classrooms today. Maria Montessori's invaluable theories have become the teaching methods that continue to "follow the child" worldwide.