Physician, Professor, Intellectual, and Educator
Prepared by Jennifer Ordonez
Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle,
Marceh, Italy to her father, Alessandro Montessori, an official of the
Ministry of Finance who worked in the local state-run tobacco
factory, and to her mother, Renidle Stoppani, a well-educated Italian
women, who was eight years younger than her husband. Maria was
the only child. Her family moved to Florence in 1873 and then to
Rome in 1875, where she spent most of her childhood.
At the age of 13, Maria attended an all boy technical institute to prepare
for a career in engineering. However, by the time she graduated at the age
of 16, she changed her mind and decided that she wanted to be a doctor
instead. She applied to the University of Rome’s medical program, but
was denied because they did not admit women into the medical program.
So, she enrolled at the University of Rome to study physics, math, and
natural sciences. Her hard work and dedication to her studies, along with
her persistency, finally gained her admittance into the University of
Rome’s medical program.
While in medical school, Maria was constantly harassed by some of
the medical students and professors because she was a female.
However, that did not keep Maria from graduating medical school in
1896 as one of Italy’s first female physicians.
Maria did have one son, named Mario Montessori, on March 31, 1898. Maria was never
married. She was having a love affair with another doctor named Dr. Montesano. There
are two different versions of what occurred after the birth of her son.
One source states that both families were against the relationship and opposed marriage,
so when Mario was born, in order to keep the birth a secret, Mario was sent to a wet
nurse in Rome, where Maria would occasionally come to visit her child.
However, according to another source, the two of them wanted to keep their relationship
a secret, under the condition that neither of them would ever marry. However, Dr.
Montesano fell in love and married someone else. Maria felt betrayed so she placed her
son in foster care, but was reunited with him during his teen years.
Maria’s early medical practice was focused on psychiatry. She worked at
the University’s psychiatric clinic, working with and researching children
with disabilities. She developed an interest in education, so she began
taking classes on pedagogy and engaged herself in education theories.
She visited asylums and observed children with mental disabilities. With
the help of these observations and the experience she gained from her
work with young children, Maria designed learning material and a
classroom environment that promoted a child’s natural desire to learn.
In 1899, Maria Montessori because the director of a practice
demonstration school, established by the National League for
THE FIRST MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Maria Montessori was interested in applying her work and methods to
children who were mentally normal, so opened the first Montessori
school in Rome, in a poor inner-city district, on January 6, 1907.
There were approximately 60 children between the ages of two and
six enrolled at this school. News of the school’s success soon spread
throughout Italy, and by 1910 Montessori schools were acclaimed
THE MONTESSORI METHOD
Not only did Maria developed a program to help teachers prepare to
teach using the Montessori Method, but she also wrote many articles
The Absorbent Mind
The Secret of Childhood
The Discovery of the Child
From Childhood to Adolescence
S O M E B O O K S W R I T T E N B Y
M A R I A M O N T E S S O R I
The Advanced Montessori Method
The Formation of Man
Education and Peace
The Child in the Family
THE BASIC MONTESSORI CONCEPTS
1. Instead of the child paying attention to the teacher, the teacher must pay attention to the
child. Maria believed that you should follow the child and they will show you what they
need to do, what areas they need to develop in and where you need to challenge them.
2. The child will learn at his or her own pace in a prepared environment organized to offer
various methods of learning. Maria believed that kids should be in a beautiful, well
prepared area that invites them to have freedom of movement.
3. Providing imaginative teaching materials is the most important part of the teaching process.
Maria observed that children learn without anyone teaching them.
4. Allow the child to see his or her own mistakes, and learn from them. Maria believed that
there is never any need to point out a child’s mistake, however there is a way to make them
realize it by showing them a different way to do it.
IDEAS CENTRAL TO THE
A Montessori classroom should be set up into several different areas, including but not
limited to sensory (learning through sight, sound, taste, touch and
smell), math, language, culture, science, art, and imaginative life play center.
A prepared environment that is calm and well organized. A prepared environment invites a
child to be free. When the child is able to do things for themselves, there is an increase in their
self-belief and self-confidence that they will carry on throughout life.
Children are grouped by 3 year age ranges, for example, ages 3-6. This is done so that the
older child can be a model for the younger children.
Children should be treated with respect. Children are then expected to respect their
environment, themselves, and others.
The Montessori environment calls for an ordered environment, that allows the child to focus
on the things that interest them, which in turns enables the child to absorb the experience
and learn quickly.
Reward the child with external awards like a smile or a pat on the back
The role of a Montessori teacher is NEVER to lecture but instead to inspire, demonstrate,
When a teacher believes that the child is ready for a new activity, a formal presentation is
planned and presented based on the child’s interest, abilities, and sensitive period.
IDEAS CENTRAL TO THE
Through her efforts and the hard work of her followers, Montessori
education has been adopted worldwide. Today there are more than
22,000 Montessori schools in a least 100 countries worldwide.
Maria Montessori was known as an advocate for women’s rights. She
wrote and spoke often on the need for equal and greater
opportunities for women. She was recognized in Italy as a leading
Mario Montessori died on May 6, 1952, at age 82, in Noordwijk,
Netherlands peacefully in a friend’s garden.
THE IMPORTANCE THAT MONTE SSORI
E DUCATION HAS IN TODAY ’ S
Family life is emphasized as the natural unit for nurture and protection
Children discover on their own needs
A positive self image is developed through work and real
A child gets connected to nature so that they can see the importance
It brings out the child’s instinct for work
"History of Montessori Education." American Montessori Society. The Berndt Group, 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2013.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. Montessori in Perspective. Washington, 1966. Print. Publication, N
Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. Radford: Wilder Publication, LLC, 2008. Print.
Britton, Lesley. Montessori Play & Learn: A Parents’ Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six. New York: Crown, 1992.
Kramer, Rita. Maria Montessori: A Biography. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1988. Print.