Italian physician Maria Montessori was a pioneer of theories in early childhood
education, which are still implemented in Montessori schools all over the globe.
Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to practise medicine in Italy. She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori spent time with young children and through her observations she became interested in their development. Maria Montessori discovered certain potentialities of childhood which, when provided for, promoted the development of strong, balanced and happy children. She also observed the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto didactic materials she provided.
She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, soon seeing the universality of the laws of human development played out before her. In 1907 she was placed in charge of the Casa dei Bambini school. By 1925, more than 1,000 Montessori schools had opened in the United States. She continued her observations throughout her life, widening and deepening her understanding until her death in 1952.
'The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say,
’The children are now working as if I did not exist.’