Passions & Places

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori

A life devoted to children

Maria Montessori, was born in Chiaravalle on 13th of August 1870. She moved to Rome where she spent her childhood and youth. 

She decided to study Engineering at a time when it was a male prerogative. After several quarrels with her family that wanted her to be a housewife, she was allowed to attend a University of Medicine and Surgery. 

She graduated in 1896 with a degree thesis in psychiatry. She was the first doctor in Italy.
She had to overcome several difficulties to succeed in a male only professional environment. These difficulties touched her so much that she got to hate men and to exclude them from her life.

The first stages of her job where with disabled children. She then worked as a researcher in Santa Maria della Pietà mental hospital in Rome in 1990. 

There she focused both on sick adults and also children affected by behaviour disorders. She soon realized that the education method used in the structure was wrong. She committed herself to arrange a new and innovative education method for disabled children. It was based on the different stages of development of the child, providing a different educational path from child to child.

From that moment on Ms Montessori elaborated a teaching method that was completely different from the one in use at the time. She revolutionized the word "memorize". It wasn't used anymore to refer to a process or rational learning but to a process prompted by the use of the senses, by touching and manipulating objects.

The result was so successful that disabled children gained a higher score than normal children in a test. After that success Maria Montessori was not yet satisfied. She was not happy that normal children could not benefit from her method. She so opened the “House of children” in Rome.  

The concept of the Montessori method is synthesized in the following sentence: “...Montessori material educates children to autocorrect their mistakes and also to understand their mistake without the teacher intervention.

Maria Montessori has also been a writer. She wrote about her methods in several books, such as "The method of Scientific Pedagogy" published in 1909. It was translated in several languages in order to spread the knowledge of her method worldwide.

Maria Montessori travelled a lot in her life. She went back to Italy after the end of the Second World War and the fall of Fascism. She died on 6th May 1952 in Noordwijk, in Holland. Her method is still used in several schools that have been named after her in the world.

In the Nineties she was portrayed in the 1,000 Lire Italian banknotes

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