Born on August 31st, 1871, died on May 6th, 1952, Dr. Maria Montessori was an eminent pedagogue of the 20thcentury. Italian citizen, she was the first female doctor of Rome. Her interest in child psychiatry led her to develop, on one hand, sensory materials for children, and, on the other. hand, to begin psychology studies in 1901.
Premises of his work
In order to enable intellectually handicapped children to acquire notions of mathematics, reading and writing, she designed materials adapted to each stage of development. The result exceeded so much her expectations, she considered expanding her research to normal children. In 1900, she directed the National School of Orthophrenia, and in 1904 she became holder of the Anthropology Chair at the University of Rome.
In 1907, on the basis of her success with interned children, she was entrusted, by the Italian administration, with the management of a center for children from 3 to 6 years old in a disadvantaged neighborhood.
This center was called the "House of Children" (Casa dei Bambini). It has been the opportunity for her to continue her work of material creation and to perfect her pedagogy which included after sensory and intellectual activities, activities of practical life as a field of acquisition for children.
Specialists came from all over the world to the "House of Children" to observe this curiosity: pre-school toddlers able to learn quickly and by themselves things deemed complicated, meanwhile remaining calm, disciplined and concentrated and in an atmosphere of great freedom!
Maria Montessori enjoyed a worldwide success to the point of creating, in 1929, the Montessori International Association in order to promote a faithful application of its pedagogy.
World War II
Later, forced to leave Benito Mussolini's Italy, she moved to Spain before joining the Netherlands after Franco came to power. She founded two schools in each country, one religious (religious education was mandatory in Spain), the other one secular.
In 1939, because of the World War II, she was forced to stay in India where she was invited.
She created many Montessori Schools with the support of Tagore and Gandhi met earlier in London.
Then she met the future Prime Minister Nehru with whom she developed ideas around the peace concept.
The Last Times
Back in post-fascist Italy, she resumed her pedagogy proscribed under the regime of Mussolini.
Dr. Maria Montessori was nominated three years in a row for the Nobel Peace Prize between 1949 and 1951, before dying at the age of 81 in the Netherlands.