Dr. Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870 and was the first female graduate of a medical school (1896). She studied Psychatrie, Anthropology and Education.


In 1899 she was appointed Dean of a Roman training institute for teachers focussing on the education of handicapped children and headed an institute of medicine and pedagogy. 


While studying, she became interest in and started to observe how children learn and develop. It became her life’s work to establish a form of learning that has lost none of its relevance to this day. Dr. Maria Montessori’s answers to questions relating to education are still completely valid, supported by neuropsychatrical results, and may now be even more relevant than ever before.


Personal life

On March 31, 1898, her only child, Mario Montessori, was born out of her love affair with Giuseppe Montesano, a fellow doctor. Instead of getting married, Montessori decided to continue her work and studies and remained very discreet about this birth. Mario was given into foster care with a family living in the countryside of Italy. She would later be reunited with her son in his teenage years, where he proved to be a great assistant in her research.


Dr. Maria Montessori died in 1952 in the Netherlands. Mario Montessori, took up the task of directing the Montessori movement that is nowadays run by the Association Montessori International (AMI), which is based in Amsterdam http://ami-global.org/.



"Casa dei Bambini"

Influenced by the work of two French doctors, Itard and Séguin, Dr Montessori had developed materials to support mentally disabled children with great success. She transported her knowledge into the first Casa dei Bambini (“Children's house“) for all children aged 3-6 years that was opened in the neighborhood of San Lorenzo, a very deprived suburb of Rome in January 1907.  



The Children's house was immediately immensely successful. The essential elements of her educational theory emerged from this work, described in The Montessori Method and in The Discovery of the Child.

Elementary school

Among other places, Dr. Maria Montessori lived in India from 1939 to 1946, as well as in 1948. During her years in India, Dr. Maria Montessori and her son Mario continued to develop her educational method. They introduced the term "cosmic education" to describe an approach for children aged from six to twelve years that emphasizes the interdependence of all the elements of the natural world.



Both developed lessons, charts, illustrations, and models, as well as material for botany, zoology, and geography. Between 1942 and 1944 these elements were incorporated into an advanced course for work with elementary children. This work led to two books: Education for a New World and To Educate the Human Potential.