She was born in Chiaravalle, Ancona Province, Italy, on August 31, 1870. She graduated in 1896 as the first female doctor in Italy. Later, she studied anthropology and psychology and earned a doctorate in philosophy.
Dr. Montessori based her approach on the principles of the French doctors Jean Marie Itard (1774 -1838) and Edouard Séguin (1812-1880). The former is considered the “father” of the new pedagogy, which establishes the importance of observation in children and understands that one cannot impose anything to children, and the latter created exercises and materials to help the child develop his faculties.
In 1950, she was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Amsterdam. On three occasions, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (1949, 1950 and 1951).
She died in Holland in 1952, at the age of 82, but her mind is still alive in the thousands of educational institutions around the world that apply her method.
THE MONTESSORI IMPACT
Children attending a Montessori school are usually adaptable, have learned to work independently or in groups. Because, from a young age, they are motivated to make decisions, these children can solve problems, choose appropriate alternatives and manage their time well. They have been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others. Their good communication skills smooth the way in new environments.
Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is when you have a positive sense of self-esteem. The Montessori program, based on self-direction, helps the child to develop his/her self-image and confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.
For the first time, a teaching technique included in its formula the idea that learning should lead to happiness and bolster the children’s personal creativity and natural abilities. Some of the ideas that Maria Montessori implemented are summarized here:
The level and type of intelligence are formed primarily during the first years of life. At age 5, the brain reaches 80% of its adult size. Children’s plasticity shows that the education of the potential must be exploited from an early age.
Knowledge should not be memorized; on the contrary, using existing information, the children must perceive knowledge as the result of their reasoning.
The most important thing is to motivate children to learn with pleasure and to allow them to satisfy their curiosity and to experience the pleasure of discovering their own ideas.
To allow the child to find the solution to the problems. Unless necessary, not to provide new knowledge from outside; to allow him/her to build it on the basis of concrete experiences.
Maria Montessori felt that each individual should be given the opportunity to develop his/her potential to be an independent, confident and balanced human being.
Another of her innovative concepts was that each child marks his/her own pace or speed to learn and these times must be respected.