Here are top interesting facts about Maria Montessori:
#1 She was born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy, in a middle-class family with well-educated parents. She was an Italian physician, the 1st Italian female to earn a medical degree.
#2 With the support and encouragement of her mother, she prepared herself for her later career. Nevertheless, her father, a tradition-bound army officer, was pessimistic about her interest in a professional career.
#3 In 1873, she and her family moved to Florence and in 1875 to Rome due to her father’s work. In 1883, at age 13 she entered an all-boys technical institute to study for a career in engineering. In 1890, she graduated at the age of 20, with a certificate in physics–mathematics, but she had decided to study medicine instead.
#4 In 1898, she and Giuseppe Montesano were named co-directors of the Orthophrenic School of Rome. In 1904 she took up a position as a lecturer at the Pedagogic School of the University of Rome, where she stayed until 1907.
#5 In 1907 she was given the opportunity to study with healthy children, taking charge of 60 poor children of the streets of the San Lorenzo slum. With these 60 children, she opened the Children’s House (in Italian – Casa dei Bambini) and used the method when she was in charge of a school for handicapped children.
#6 In 1908, she opened The Children’s House in Milan. Her method of education implements mixed-age classrooms which allow children freedom and choice.
#7 Interestingly, her knowledge about children mostly originating from the years of closely observing the handicapped children. During that time, she understood that children learn more by seeing, touching, tasting, exploring, and smelling, rather than by just listening.
#8 In addition, she found that children of all ages develop better when they were given the opportunity to experience real-life knowledge and skills which were appropriate to their stage of life and age. Moreover, she felt that by working independently, children could become self-motivated to reach new levels of understanding and higher levels of autonomy.
#9 She taught each child to be responsible, active, lifelong learner by fostering self-determination, independence, and self-regulation at all plains.
#10 There aren’t any comparisons to other children or grades in these schools and each child advances at her or his own pace through the curriculum.
#11 She evolved her teaching method through error and trial, making educated guesses about the underlying meaning of the children’s actions.
#12 She documented her teaching methods and findings in a few books, describing the best learning environment.
#13 Her books have been translated into at least 20 different languages, and training schools for teachers practicing this method have been established in many countries. For instance, by 1925 there were more than 1,000 schools in the US. In the present day, there are more than 23,000 Montessori schools in 115 countries around the world.
#14 Three times, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Moreover, she was made an Officer of the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau and received the French Legion of Honor in recognition of her remarkable works in the field of education (interestingly, a field she avoided in her youth).
#15 She made her first visit to the United States in 1913. There, leading figures such as Alexander Graham Bell (a Scottish-born inventor and scientist), Woodrow Wilson (the 28th President of the United States), Henry Ford (the founder of the Ford Motor Company), Thomas Edison (an American businessman and inventor) enthusiastically supported her work.
#16 In 1915, the Montessori “glass house” classroom attracted the most attention at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
#17 She was appointed government inspector of schools in Italy in 1922. However, she left Italy in 1934 when fascists came to power.
#18 She moved to India where she and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India, with whom she frequently discussed the role of children’s education in improving the society.
#19 In 1929, she formed the AMI – Association Montessori International, based in the United States, to ensure that her approach and philosophy of education would be carried on as she designed.
#20 She never trademarked the name ”Montessori,” thus, anybody can say that their school is teaching her method if they so choose.
#21 Prince William, Francois Mitterand, Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs, Bill Clinton, T. Berry Brazelton, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos studied according to this education system.
#22 Her portrait used to decorate the Italian 1000 lire note before the euro was introduced in Italy.
#23 She died in Noordwijk Aan Zee, Holland, on May 6, 1952. She is buried at the local Catholic cemetery.
Five Maria Montessori quotes:
#1 ”The education of a child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”
#2 ”Early childhood education is essential to the prosperity of society.”
#3 ”To help a child we must provide him with an environment which will empower him to develop freely.”
#4 ”To aid life, leaving it free, nevertheless, which is the basic assignment of the educator.”
#5 ”Free the child’s potential, and you will change him into the world.”