(August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952)
The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
Maria Montessori was an Italian educator and doctor who created the Montessori style of education. Born in Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria was well-educated and very ambitious. Even as a teenager, Maria strove to break gender barriers in education. After graduating the University of Rome’s medical school, she was one of Italy’s first female physicians. She later became very interested in educational theory. In 1907, she decided to open an inner-city school. It later became known as Casa dei Bambini. Her philosophy of having students work with all types of materials, subjects and life skills was soon embraced by the students. Maria began to use scientific methods to design learning materials, making her style even more effective. Within 3 years, her educational philosophy had gained immense popularity in Italy and worldwide. During World War II, Maria lived in exile in India. There she trained teachers and shared her knowledge. After the war, she returned to live in Amsterdam until her death in 1952. The legacy of Maria Montessori helps children worldwide and will live on forever.