History and Dr. Maria Montessori

A Pioneer In Child Education and Advocacy
This is a slide-show with images of children in a Montessori environment and of Dr. Montessori herself.  Hover the pointer over the image for more information.
Dr. Maria Montessori Graduating

Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy, having graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realized that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment.

The Key Points of the Montessori Method

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that there were sensitive periods when children are driven to master  certain skills and that they can learn to refine these more easily if the right materials were made available for the child to explore these natural tendencies or drive.  This is commonly now referred to as "Windows" of development.


Although all children experience the same sensitive periods (e.g., a sensitive period for writing), the sequence and timing vary for each child. One role of the teacher is to use observation to detect times of sensitivity and provide the setting for optimum fulfillment.


Throughout a Montessori classroom, are areas designated for particular skill development.  Those areas are known as Practical Life, Sensorial, Language Arts, Math and Culture (Community).


Each area is equipped with what is known as the Materials.  Children are innately drawn to explore each of these materials according to his or her own driven curiosity.  These materials were designed by Dr. Montessori to provide an optimal hands-on learning experience.  This hands-on exploration allows a child to 'feel' the concrete aspect of later abstract concepts found in language and math.


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Montessori and Children Reading

Maria Montessori opened her first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in one of the very poorest areas in Rome, the then notorious Quartiere di San Lorenzo.