Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was one of the most influential pioneers in early childhood education. Her ideas have become known and recognized throughout the world and have significantly influenced mainstream education as we know it today.
Having completed a degree in engineering, she pursued her primary interest of medicine and she was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. She became interested in education through her work as a doctor. Because of her background in medicine she approached education, not as a philosopher, but as a scientist. She used the classroom for a platform as her forum for observing children and for developing her ideas about the most effective way to help them achieve their full potential.
Dr. Montessori put her ideas into practice, retaining and developing those that obviously worked. Her success was so great that she travelled the world, establishing schools and lecturing about her discoveries while writing numerous books and articles.
She died in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82 having profoundly influenced childhood education throughout the world. Today there are close to 700 Montessori establishments in the UK, 5,000 in the United States and thousands more throughout Europe and Asia.