Maria Montessori was born in Italy. She was from a higher class family and she was expected to be like other women of her time and marry and raise a family. Interestingly Maria chose to go to university where she was the first female doctor to convocate in Italy at that time. She took a keen interest in the under privileged and the handicapped children she was surrounded by. Maria began to realize that all children could benefit from a hands on learning approach combined with concrete didactic materials.
Because Maria’s area of study was anthropology she made her decisions based on keen observations of the children around her. Since Maria was not educated as a teacher she employed those things she was taught-observe-take note of the children’s interests and what their chose to do. Since Maria began implementing the techniques her methodology has been called the Montessori Method.
Maria was very aware of the children’s needs and she wanted a more free flowing environment versus the standard rigid structure normally found in schools of the time. She even made sure the furniture was smaller so children could use the desks that fit them and their toys, crafts and supplies were easy to access at their height. Of key importance is childhood independence and reinforcing the fact children can do things on their own and use their own creativity.
Maria continued her lifelong passion and found working with children a dream–as a matter of fact she chose to set up schools to train others in implementing her methods of teaching creativity and independence to children. Maria was nominated for three Noble Prizes–and she continued on her life promoting the foundation of peace and expanding her teaching and schools around the world.