in perspective



Many have followed her and written about her. Almost a century later,
she is still very much alive in the hearts of many educationist, parents and all montessorians.

She is truly a great woman ahead of her time

Dr Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was a brilliant and original educator, scientist, healer, humanitarian and philosopher. She was born in the town of Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona, in Italy on 31st August, 187

Maria's childhood was spent in Ancona, where she attended the usual state day school. As a young child it seemed that she was without any special scholastic ambitions. A defining moment came one day when she met one of her little companions crying bitterly because she had not been moved up to the next class. "I could not understand this", said Montessori, "because I told her, one room seemed to me just as good as the other." Little did she know that she will set herself the task of helping to shape the future.

When Maria was twelve, her parents moved to Rome in order that their daughter might receive a better education. They encouraged her to become a teacher, the only career open to women at the time. However, Montessori was a women's liberationist before her time and she was determined not to accept a traditional woman's role. She was first interested in mathematics, and decided on a career in engineering. She attended classes at a technical school for boys but eventually became interested in biology, and finally set her goal on medical school. Relatives and friends of the family were shocked at her decision, especially her father.

She fought against all odds and became the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School in 1870. She joined the staff of the University's Psychiatric Clinic where she began her pathway into the world of children, not knowing that she would leave behind a legacy for those who love and work with children.


In 1901, Montessori left the State Orthophrenic School. She moved from the field of medicine and special education to school herself in the education of normal children. In 1907, her active life as an educator began. She opened her first school for normal children. The school was known as " Casa dei Bambini" or " The Children's House" It was the first school to have child-sized furniture and to cater for the natural needs of children. Her first group of sixty underprivileged children came from the slum area of San Lorenzo, Italy. The success of her work was written about in all the newspapers and many people came to visit the Casa de Bambini. Word of Montessori's work spread easily. Visitors from all over the world arrived at the Montessori schools to verify with their own eyes reports of these 'remarkable children'.

Montessori began a life of world travels. She travelled from India to Holland, Ireland and many places on the globe. The last few days of Montessori's life were characterised by the same activity and zeal which she had shown throughout her career. Her long and self-sacrificing labours on behalf of the child ended suddenly on the 6th May, 1952 (82 years) at Noorolwijk-on-Sea in Holland. But Montessorians all over the world continued her good work till today.

"Many of my works were written about at the beginning of my time endeavours and they often refer to scientific theories and experiments
that were popular then and to situations that were familiar in those days.
Times have changed and science has made great progress and so must our work."
- Dr Maria Montessori

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