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Dr. Maria Montessori
Creator of the
"Montessori Method"

 

Dr. Maria Montessori — the creator of what is called “The Montessori Method” — based this approach to education on her scientific observations of young children’s behavior.

In 1896, Dr. Montessori became the first female physician to graduate from the University of Rome. After a period of studying “the mind rather than the body,” she began working with 60 children labeled “deficient and insane.” The work in 1904 resulted in many of these children successfully passing the Italian National Exams.

CountingBecause of that, in 1907 she was invited to open a child care center for the children of the poor in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. She called this “The Children’s House,” and developed a program on her observations. She called this “Scientific Education.” She found that young children learn best in a homelike setting filled with developmentally appropriate materials. In this way she was able to provide experiences that would contribute to the growth of self motivated, independent learners. Her dynamic theories included such revolutionary ideas as:

  • Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who are different from one another.
  • Children create themselves through purposeful activity
  • The most important years for learning are from birth to age 6
  • Children posses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from their environment, which includes people as well as materials.

Montessori’s message spread through the Europe. She was invited to the United States by Alexander Graham Bell and his wife and visited for the first time in 1913.

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