Maria Montessori ( 31 August, 1870- 6 May, 1952)
By Laurie Huberman
Montessori was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name. Her educational method is presently in use in public and private schools throughout the world. After completing medical school in Rome, in 1886, Montessori first worked with children suffering from some kind of mental retardation. In 1900 she was named co-director of a newly opened Orthophrenic School for training teachers in educating mentally disabled children. Here she developed methods and materials which she would later adapt to use with mainstream children through an approach she came to call “scientific pedagogy”. From this, Montessori went on in 1907 to open her first class for normal children. This had a structured program which became popular and soon spread first in Italy and then beyond. Montessori wrote and traveled widely in Europe and the USA to promote her pedagogy as well as her ideas about peace and the interdependence of all elements in the natural world. She died at the age of 81 while living in the Netherlands.
Montessori method: a method of educating young children that stresses the importance of working from a child's own initiatives and natural abilities, especially around play. Special environments are set up to meet the needs of students in three age groups.
For further reading:
Montessori, c'est fou (Trevor Eissler), Une journee a la Maison des Enfants Montessori du Pre-Saint Gervais et de Montreuil (92) Ecole Montessori du Pays d'Apt-Villars (84) Feb. 2012