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Maria Montessori: Biography, Method, Quotes.

Updated on February 2, 2012
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori | Source

“The child has a great power, a great inner sensitivity, a great drive to observe and be active.”

~Maria Montessori


  • Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy in 1870. She grew up in Rome.
  • She studied medicine despite the difficulties a woman faced in a male profession, and has earned numerous awards for her work as a student. She graduated as a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery. After graduation, Dr. Montessori worked at the San Giovanni Hospital that was attached to the university.
  • Later, Dr. Montessori became familiar with works of Edouard Seguin on education of children with mental disabilities, and became interested in education as a science.
  • With a revolutionary approach, she began to work with children with mental disabilities at the asylum of Rome. She believed that these children possessed an ability to learn, but that they simply need a different approach.
  • She lectured throughout the country about the importance of providing good education for children with mental disabilities. In 1900, a school for children with disabilities opened in Rome due to Maria Montessori’s efforts. Her students achieved great academic successes.
  • Soon Montessori became interested in applying similar principles inside a regular classroom; as a result, Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) opened in Rome, where Montessori’s principles were put to work inside a regular classroom.
  • Montessori traveled all over Europe, America and even India turning the old system of education upside down, lecturing, and training teachers.
  • She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1949, 1950 and 1951.
  • Maria Montessori died in 1952 of old age.

Montessori Approach: the following is a list of key points in Montessori method of education.

  • Child centered education.
  • Children should be engaged in sensory learning. They shouldn’t just sit and listen to the instruction or copy down notes from the board, but they should be allowed to touch, interact and “work” with the material that they need to learn.
  • Children should be provided with a prepared environment, which should be set up by a teacher, and the environment should direct students' learning.
  • A child should be allowed to be an active learner, as all children possess absorbent mind, which gives them a natural ability to explore and learn.
  • Children should be free to move around the classroom, to choose their own activity, and to work on it for as long as it holds their interest.
  • The teacher leads by example, but doesn’t interrupt the child. The teacher’s role is being a guide, and not a lecturer.


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    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I attended a Montessori school as a young child. I still remember the hands on, classroom activities over twenty years later! I love her educational philosophy and wish it were better known and more widely implemented.

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 6 years ago

      What a fascinating woman. I'm sad to say I didn't know much about her, so this has been very enlightening. Thank you so much!