Dr. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educational theorist in the early twentieth century whose observations of children revolutionized the field of early childhood education. One of the first female physicians in Italy, Montessori worked with individuals with intellectual impairments. When she applied the same principles of the scientific method to her practice with young children, she identified a strategy through which the institutionalized children were able to pass and excel on state achievement tests. Montessori's curiosity led her to apply these same strategies with typically developing children in 1906, when she was asked to tend to the children of working families during the day. Hence, the first Montessori school was born--the Casa dei Bambini (or "house for children").
Montessori’s original observations of children, over one hundred years ago, still stand true today: children are inherently good, naturally peaceful, and intrinsically motivated to learn. Montessori's scientific principles of observation, analysis, reflection and action helped her to develop specific learning materials and methods for serving children. Those same principles are practiced in Montessori classrooms today, to serve the children in the environment and to help translate Montessori’s original vision to the demands of our modern world.