Dr. Maria Montessori was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy. She specialized in Psychiatry, and chaired the Anthropology Department at the University of Rome. When Dr. Montessori began to observe children, she recognized innate qualities that others had not considered. She became a great champion for children, and began to change the world of education. Today, there are Montessori schools in every part of the world.
(1870) Born in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy.
(1896) Became the first female physician in Italy, upon her graduation from medical school.
Completed clinical observations and analyzed how children learn, concluding that they build themselves from what they find in their environment.
(1901) Began studies in psychology and philosophy.
(1904) Became professor of anthropology at the University of Rome.
(1906 & 1907) Began work with sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini, or "Children's House." Dr. Montessori's scientific observations of these children's almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials, ultimately became the Montessori Method of education. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children doing "naturally," by themselves, unassisted by adults.
(1922) Appointed a government inspector of schools in her native Italy, but because of her opposition to Mussolini's fascism, she was forced to leave Italy in 1934.
(1940) When India entered World War II, interned with her son, Mario Montessori, as enemy aliens, but she was permitted to continue to teach training courses.
(1949, 1950, & 1951) Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
(1952) Died in Noordwijk, Holland.
Dr. Montessori’s tireless efforts and valuable contributions to education live on through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the organization she founded in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1929, to carry on her work.