Maria Montessori – Founder of Educational Method

Maria Montessori

(August 31, 1870, Chiaravalle (Ancona), Italy –  May 6, 1952, Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands) (aged 81)
Nationality: Italy
Category: Scientists
Occupation: Educators, Physicians
Unique distinction: Founder of the system of education and the Montessori Method, the first female doctor in Italy
Gender: Female

1. It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself and truly work at it.
2. Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.
3. Within the child lies the fate of the future.
4. It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to teach a child the chance to fulfil his potential possibilities.
5. Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavour always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence
6. The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.
7. Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.
8. The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.
9. Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: Montessori was an Italian educator, physician, philosopher and humanitarian.
The main contribution to (Best known for): She is best known for her philosophy and the Montessori method of education of children from birth to adolescence focusing on preschool education.

Contributions to pedagogy:

Montessori was an Italian educator, physician, philosopher, humanitarian and devout Catholic.
Maria Montessori is famous for her innovative ideas in education.
She is best known for her philosophy and the Montessori method of education of children from birth to adolescence focusing on preschool education.
The Montessori system is based on the belief in children’s creative potential, their natural “tendency towards elevation,” and also on the existence of distinct stages of development and sensitive periods for acquiring basic faculties.
The theoretical backgrounds consist of concepts of children’s absorbent mind, there tends to be spontaneous self-discipline and efficiency of Multi-age grouping, physical exercise and play activity.

Montessori method

The chief components of the Montessori method are the potentially gifted child with an inner drive to learn, an enriched prepared environment and a teacher as a helper, guide and encourager.
These components are realised as:
1. Freedom for individualized, self-directed learning and individual liberty of children to choose their own activities. It emphasized self-education,  self-motivation and self-realization.
2. Creation of a learning environment that calls to the unfolding intellect and personality of the child, and stimulates their natural instincts and interests for self-education Such an environment is prepared with classroom materials designed for the development of sensory-motor ability, abstract thinking and logical thought.
These materials, consisting of “learning games” are suited to a child’s abilities and interests. This environment created a place that was calm and orderly, where children took care of themselves and helped each other.
3. Observation and indirect teaching. This indirect teaching controls the environment, not the child.  The teacher’s role is to observe children engaged in activities that follow their own natural interests and lead to their own perfect self-directed development.
Her educational method is in use today in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world.
In all probability, her sad experiences in the pursuit of a medical degree reinforced her active participation in the international feminist movement.
Major works: The Montessori Method (1912), Pedagogical Anthropology (1913), The Advanced Montessori Method (2 vol., 1917),  The Secret of Childhood (1936). The Absorbent Mind (1949).

Career and personal life:

Origin: Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Chiaravalle (Ancona), Italy to Alessandro Montessori, and Renilde Stoppani (niece of Antonio Stoppani). Her father was a civil servant and former soldier and her mother was unusually well educated.
Education: At the age of thirteen she attended an all-boy technical school in preparation for her dreams of becoming an engineer. She was confident and strong-minded, excelling in school and often taking on the role of leader in games and conversations. She entered the Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci (1886), where she studied math, natural sciences, and languages. She studied medicine at the University of Rome (1890 -1894).

Career highlights: 

In 1886 she entered  the Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci. Here she studied math, natural sciences, and languages, again excelling beyond all expectations. It was here too that she became enthralled with the biological sciences, and began to dream of pursuing a career in medicine.
But in 1890, when Montessori applied to the University of Rome, she was denied entrance to the medical program because of her gender. She enrolled at the university to study physics, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Eventually, despite her gender and thanks to her diligence, she was allowed to study medicine.
In 1894 Maria Montessori graduated from the University of Rome La Sapienza Medical School, took a degree in medicine and became the first woman physician in Italy. When she graduated she specialized in paediatrics.
She continued research at the University of Rome, joining the university staff in 1897. In 1898 she was appointed director of the State Orthophrenic School in Rome, whose function was to care for the “hopelessly deficient” and ” special needs ” children of the city.
In 1904 had accepted a professorship in anthropology at the University of Rome.
Her interest in children and education led her to open a school for mentally retarded children in 1907, and for the next 40 years, she travelled throughout Europe, India, and the U.S., lecturing, writing, and setting up Montessori schools.

Personal life: 

During her work at the University of Rome, she fell in love with his colleague and became pregnant. Rather than marry, the determined and unconventional Montessori gave her infant son as fosterling to a family in the countryside. Her son would return to her side at age fifteen and eventually become her most valued assistant.
In the year 1939, the Theosophical Society of India extended an invitation asking Maria Montessori to visit India. She reached India the very same year accompanied by her only son, Mario Montessori Sr.
This heralded the beginning of her special relationship with India.
Montessori lived out the remainder of her life in the Netherlands, which now hosts the headquarters of the AMI, or Association Montessori Internationale.
She died in 1952.
Remains: Buried, Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands.