Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. She was best known for her amazing contributions to child development and education. Her innovative Montessori Method of learning is in practice today among many public and private schools. This method of teaching is highly effective, respected, and practiced worldwide.
Maria Montessori graduated from the University of Rome in 1896. She then began research within the psychiatric clinic of the university. From 1896-1901 Maria Montessori researched and worked with children who fell under the “phrenasthenic” category of the time. She worked with children who were mentally handicapped, sick, and/or disabled. Her observations of mentally ill and disabled children were fundamental to the future of her educational work. Through her experiences and research with children and travel she became the voice for disabled children as well as a prominent figure for women’s rights.
In 1906, Maria Montessori agreed to oversee a group of children with working parents in an apartment building for low-income families. Maria wanted to apply her theories and methods to mentally “normal” children. It was suggested to Montessori that she use the name Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) and the first Casa was born. The first Casa was opened in 1907, enrolling 50-60 children from the ages of two-seven. Children began to use the materials she had developed, under supervision but with very little guidance due to the number of children and other responsibilities of running the Casa. She developed a strict routine and began to center her education on independence.
The first Casa dei Bambini was a great success; so much so that a second school was opened that same year. Montessori children began to show advanced attentiveness, concentration, self-discipline, and the classrooms began to attract serious attention. Prominent journalists, educators, and public figures began to show interest in the Montessori Method and started to spread the word. It was at this time that Maria Montessori began to experiment with materials that are still used today in Montessori classrooms. Some of these materials include sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet.
From 1909-1915, the Montessori style of learning began to gain international attention. Once her work was widely published, it spread rapidly. Today Montessori houses are everywhere, giving children around the world the opportunity to learn an enriched and highly effective curriculum.
Adm1n April 26th, 2017
Posted In: Montessori Education