Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy in 1870. She died on May 6, 1952 in Norwijk an Zee in the Netherlands. The path of an extraordinary woman’s life stretches between these two dates.
Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to pursue academic studies, which she completed with a doctorate in medicine. She became an assistant at a psychiatric clinic and designed a support program for mentally handicapped children and achieved amazing success with the use of didactic material.
Later she began to study pedagogy, psychology and anthropology as a part-time job in order to develop similar teaching methods for the education and upbringing of healthy children.
In 1907 the first “Casa dei Bambini” was opened in Rome, in which preschool children were brought up according to Maria Montessori’s ideas. In the following years she gained insights and experiences in order to establish her pedagogical system of “free work” for children in a didactically “prepared environment”.
Her unusual upbringing and educational successes quickly spread around the world. In 1909 Maria Montessori carried out her first training course with her method. Her first book “Il metodo della pedagogica” was also published.
In the fascist countries and through the Second World War, the Montessori movement suffered major setbacks. Maria Montessori, however, continued her fight for the child undeterred during her internment in India.
In 1949 Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. On Maria Montessori’s tombstone are the words in Italian:
“I ask the dear children who can do everything to work with me to build peace between people and in the world.”