Maria Montessori

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  4. Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born in 1870, in Italy, and was the first woman to graduate in Medicine at the University of Rome.

After graduating, she went to work in Psychiatry. During her visits to psychiatric homes, she realized that there were also children hospitalized with the mentally ill and were treated inhumanely. She then decided to understand the child and its development.

She was chosen to co-direct a school of treatments for children with special needs. In this school, Maria Montessori was able to observe that the children were interested in anything they could feel.

She began to look for ways to facilitate the learning of these children, using materials from other researchers and doctors, adapting them and creating others according to the needs she was observing. Through these materials the children learned so much that Maria Montessori felt confident to take them to the national tests in Italy. When the results came out, children with special needs had better results than most of the children with normal development and who attended normal school.

This event made her question herself about the implemented education system and she decided to dedicate herself exclusively to Education.

In January 1907, she opened the first Casa dei Bambini, where she had the opportunity to test her ideas on children without special needs.

In 1929, she founded the Association Montessori Internationale, with her son Mário, with the main objective of training teachers.

She also lived through two world wars and a Spanish civil war, which awakened her to the importance of an Education for Peace, for which she received her first nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1949.

She died in 1952, aged 81, in the Netherlands, in the company of her son, Mário Montessori, to whom she left her legacy, after her last commitment in public, at the 9th International Montessori Congress, held in London.