About Maria Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori is the founder of Montessori. Her long life was dedicated to improving the education of children, starting from the early observation that every child spontaneously wants to learn. By the time she passed away, her method was being taught successfully throughout the world.

Maria Montessori drew her ideas about how to handle and educate children from her observations of them at different stages in their development, and from their exposure to children of different cultures. There are six core beliefs that sum up the Montessori method: (1) All children have “absorbent ” minds; (2) all children pass through “sensitive” periods; (3) all children want to learn; (4) all children learn through play / work; (5) all children pass through stages of development; and (6) all children want to be independent.

Children learn differently than adults. They have what Dr. Montessori called the “absorbent mind”: one that unconsciously soaks up all information from the environment. This lasts for at least the first three to six years of a child’s life. The second phase is from 3 to 6 years of age, where the child’s mind is still absorbent, but now consciousness begins. The process of learning is active rather than passive. This is the perfect time when children should be in a Montessori environment.

The Montessori method is not just a curriculum, it is a way of life. The Montessori environment supports a child’s natural tendencies to discover his or her own personality, talents and needs, as well as respecting each child’s choices and interests. Since children learn through their hands, all of the works in the classroom are beautifully made. The environment supports freedom of movement. The children learn to take care of themselves as well as the environment.

The prepared environment addresses the academic and social needs of the children. The practical life area focuses on strengthening a child’s concentration, order, independence, and fine motor control. The sensorial area supports the senses. Children at this age love to learn about quantity, addition, subtraction, and geometry. Language is a huge part of the Montessori environment. Reading and writing should be taught at an early age. Geography is also something children love to learn about. The continents are a great way to teach them about different cultures. Art and Music are also very important for children this age.

We hope you have learned a little bit more about the teachings of Montessori. After being in a Montessori environment, your child will be confident and ready to move on to primary education.

Historical Timeline

1896: Maria graduates to great public acclaim from the University of Rome School of Medicine. She is the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. Maria also studied anthropology, biology and psychiatry. As an early feminist she represents Italy at the 1896 Women’s Conference in Berlin where, among other things, she is a strong advocate for equal pay.

1896-1907: Dr. Montessori’s work brings her into close contact with children. During this period, the Italian Minister of Education appoints her as the Director of the Scuola Ortofrenica. This institution was dedicated to the care and education of youngsters that were considered “cognitively challenged”. Through the development of her Montessori method, many of these 8-year-old students are able to pass standard testing with above-average scores.

1907: Dr. Montessori opens Casa dei Bambini or “Children’s House,” for children ages 3 to 6 years in one of the poorest neighborhoods in San Lorenzo, Italy.

1913: Dr. Montessori makes her first visit to the United States.; Montessori Educational Association is founded by Alexander Graham Bell and his wife, Mabel.

1915: Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco: Dr. Montessori receives international attention with her “glass house” schoolroom exhibit. During this visit, Dr. Montessori leads a teacher training course while in the states.

1922: Italian government asks Dr. Montessori to return to become a government inspector of schools.

1929: Dr. Montessori founds the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with her son, Mario, to ensure preservation of her educational principles.

1939: Dr. Montessori and her son travel to India to give a series of teacher training courses. Both are detained in India during World War II.

1947: Dr. Montessori starts a training center in London and continues to spend time in India.

1949: Dr. Montessori is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

1950: Dr. Montessori is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

1951: Dr. Montessori is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

1952: Dr. Montessori died in the Netherlands assured that her legacy would be continued through the work of the Association Montessori Internationale.