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About Dr. Montessori

American Montessori Public School

Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn.
She opened the first Montessori school - Casa dei Bambini or Children’s House - in Rome on January 6, 1907. Subsequently, she traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education, attracting many devotees to her innovative pedagogical approach. There are now thousands of Montessori schools in over 110 countries worldwide. Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in the provincial town of Chiaravalle, Italy off the Adriatic coast. Her mother was raised in a family that prized education, and as a result, she was well-schooled and an avid reader, unusual for Italian women of that time. As a passion for knowledge took root in the young Maria, she immersed herself in many fields of scientific study, eventually completing her Doctor of Medicine in Rome in 1896, before creating the educational method that bears her name.

On Her Contribution to Education

Dr. Montessori created and propagated a new system for educating young children based on materials and methods she originally developed to teach students with special needs. The techniques proved highly effective for all children. Her system, based on a radical conception of liberty for the pupil and a structured training of separate sensory, motor, and mental capacities, led to a rapid and substantial mastery of reading, writing, and mathematics. Apart from conducting teacher training workshops across British India (including present-day Sri Lanka and Pakistan as well as Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kodaikanal, and Pune amongst other cities in India), the influential Italian educator, she also spoke and wrote extensively on her philosophy and method. Her very first book, The Montessori Method, published in Italian in 1909, outlines her techniques of discipline, scientific pedagogy, diet, gymnastics, manual labor, and the education of the senses, along with various methods for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. The English translation of this book reached second place on the U.S. nonfiction bestseller list in 1912. Soon afterwards it was translated into 20 different languages. In 1948, she penned The Absorbent Mind, based on her direct observations of Indian children in their learning environment in the 1940s. It was through these experiences that she came to the firm conclusion that it was the first six years of the child that were the most crucial for their overall development.
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, Dr. Montessori also was an ardent proponent of world peace. Between World War I and II, she published Education for Peace (1936) and after the wars, Peaceful Children, Peaceful World (1949). During her internment in India during WWII, she met such great figures as Gandhi, Nehru, and Tagore, and the spirituality, generosity and kindness of people in India left a strong impression on her. Dr. Montessori said, “It is not true that I invented what is called the Montessori Method. I have studied the child, I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method." She urged all of us to “follow the child”.