Educator and Innovator
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally.
She opened the first Montessori school—the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907. Subsequently, she traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education, attracting many devotees. There are now thousands of Montessori schools in countries worldwide.
Developing her methods
Maria’s early medical practice focused on psychiatry. She later developed an interest in education, attending classes on pedagogy and immersing herself in educational theory. Her studies led her to observe, and call into question, the prevailing methods of teaching children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The opportunity to improve on these methods came in 1900, when she was appointed co-director of a new training institute for special education teachers. Maria approached the task scientifically, carefully observing and experimenting to learn which teaching methods worked best. Many of the children made unexpected gains, and the program was proclaimed a success.
Casa dei Bambini
In 1907, Maria accepted a challenge to open a full-day childcare center in San Lorenzo, a poor inner-city district of Rome. The students were under-served youngsters, ages 3 – 7, who were left to their own devices while their parents went out to work. This center, the first of its kind in the nation, and a high-quality learning environment, became the first Casa dei Bambini.
*Note: Original content attribution: https://amshq.org/About-Montessori/History-of-Montessori/Who-Was-Maria-Montessori