global education innovator
Besides being the first ever woman to graduate from medical school in Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori was a pioneer in the field of early childhood education whose international impact even in her own day led to 3 consecutive nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize...not to mention, Montessori schools, publications, congresses and associations.
Maria debuted her hands-on, child-centered style of teaching in an under-served area of Rome in 1907. Over a century later, there are still 20,000 schools worldwide that bear her name and countless others that take up her time-tested methods.
The Montessori Method | a scientifically informed approach to pedagogy that emphasizes self-directed, experiential learning
international collaborations | working with educators around the world from the US to Scandinavia to India
1907 | opened her first school ~ the Children's House ~ in a low-income district of Rome to great success
1909 | published her landmark treatise on education, The Montessori Method, which inspired to the opening of Montessori schools across 5 continents within 5 years
1929 | held the first International Montessori Congress in Denmark, leading to the development of an International Montessori Association to oversee affiliated schools, trainings, and publications
August 31, 1870
Chiaravalle, Marche, Italy
Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori
Alessandro Montessori + Renilde Stoppani
Regio Instituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci
University of Rome Medical School
~ Italy | MD | 1890 - 1896 ~
medicine | pediatrics + psychiatry
~ Maria's co-director of the Orthophrenic School of Rome and father of her son ~
~ wed to another woman after Maria decided against marriage because she worried it would compromise her career ~
1 son | Mario Montessori Sr.
~ raised in foster care, but eventually a key collaborator in Maria's work ~
disability rights and special education
May 6, 1952
Bain News Service | Library of Congress | public domaincollapse bio bits
"In all this progress of modern child education, we have not freed ourselves from the prejudice which denies children spiritual expression and spiritual needs, and makes us consider them only as amiable vegetating bodies to be cared for, kissed, and set in motion."The Montessori Method | january 1909
"To stimulate life—leaving it then free to develop, to unfold—herein lies the first task of the educator."The Montessori Method | january 1909
"There exists, then, the 'spirit' of the scientist, a thing far above his mere 'mechanical skill,' and the scientist is at the height of his achievement when the spirit has triumphed over the mechanism."The Montessori Method | 1909
"The man who, through his own efforts, is able to perform all the actions necessary for his comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in doing so multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual."The Montessori Method | 1909
"Education today, in this particular social period, is assuming truly unlimited importance. And the increased emphasis on its practical value can be summed up in one sentence: education is the best weapon for peace."Peace and Education | 1932
"Actually the normal child is one who is precociously intelligent, who has learned to overcome himself and to live in peace, and who prefers a disciplined task to futile idleness."The Secret of Childhood | 1936
"Education is not what the teacher gives: education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual. It is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences."The Absorbent Mind | 1949
"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from children, for the children are the makers of men."The Absorbent Mind | 1949
Maria Montessori (ca. 1880)
A 10-year-old Maria stands proud ~ already with a diploma in hand!
Michael Reschke | public domain
Dr. McClure with Dr. Montessori
Maria visits with famous American publishing giant, Samuel Sidney McClure, who helped introduce her radical teaching methods to U.S. audiences through his popular periodical best known for pioneering muckraking journalism, McClure's Magazine.
Harris & Ewing | Library of Congress | public domain
Montessori teaching in Adyar
From 1939 - 1949, Montessori was a guest of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, India from which she led teacher trainings such as this one, changing the face of education in Southeast Asia.
The Theosophical Society in America Archives