Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician who developed a new method of child education that combined self-paced learning with guidance and observation. She was one of the first female doctors to attend the University of Rome, graduating in 1896.
Her foray into teaching began with special needs children (referred to at the time as ‘defective’) who many considered impossible to educate. As a member of the University’s Psychiatric Clinic, she became interested in teaching the mentally disabled, and soon had a chance to put her theories to the test after becoming director of the Scuola Ortofrenica – an institution for the disabled in Rome.
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”
Dr. Montessori demonstrated that any child in the right environment can learn effectively and naturally. Her groundbreaking methods inspired a new brand of thought for education, and the teaching style bearing her name quickly spread.
With more than 20,000 schools worldwide today, Dr. Montessori’s legacy continues to enrich the education of children across the globe, and has encouraged a new generation of innovators to expand the field of self-directed, holistic education.