Many have followed her and written about her. Almost
a century later,
she is still very much alive in the hearts of many educationist,
parents and all montessorians.
She is truly a great woman ahead of her time
Montessori was a brilliant and original educator, scientist,
healer, humanitarian and philosopher. She was born in
the town of Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona, in
Italy on 31st August, 1870.
childhood was spent in Ancona, where she attended the
usual state day school. As a young child it seemed that
she was without any special scholastic ambitions. A
defining moment came one day when she met one of her
little companions crying bitterly because she had not
been moved up to the next class. "I could not understand
this", said Montessori, "because I told her,
one room seemed to me just as good as the other."
Little did she know that she will set herself the task
of helping to shape the future.
When Maria was twelve, her parents moved to Rome in
order that their daughter might receive a better education.
They encouraged her to become a teacher, the only career
open to women at the time. However, Montessori was a
women's liberationist before her time and she was determined
not to accept a traditional woman's role. She was first
interested in mathematics, and decided on a career in
engineering. She attended classes at a technical school
for boys but eventually became interested in biology,
and finally set her goal on medical school. Relatives
and friends of the family were shocked at her decision,
especially her father.
fought against all odds and became the first woman to
graduate from the University of Rome Medical School
in 1870. She joined the staff of the University's Psychiatric
Clinic where she began her pathway into the world of
children, not knowing that she would leave behind a
legacy for those who love and work with children.
began a life of world travels. She travelled from India
to Holland, Ireland and many places on the globe. The
last few days of Montessori's life were characterised
by the same activity and zeal which she had shown throughout
her career. Her long and self-sacrificing labours on
behalf of the child ended suddenly on the 6th May, 1952
(82 years) at Noorolwijk-on-Sea in Holland. But Montessorians
all over the world continued her good work till today.
of my works were written about at the beginning of my
time endeavours and they often refer to scientific theories
that were popular then and to situations that were familiar
in those days.
Times have changed and science has made great progress
and so must our work."
- Dr Maria Montessori