Maria Montessori was born in 1870 and grew up to become Italy’s first female physician. Her medical work led her to working with children, especially challenged ones, through the University of Rome’s psychiatric clinic. Helping these children develop the skills to learn paved the way for her second career as an educator, founded in the idea that individual development would benefit from children being free to pursue their own interests, at their own pace, in a specially prepared environment with specific teaching materials. The reputation of the Montessori Method quickly spread, with schools opening in Switzerland, England, India, China, Mexico, Syria, and New Zealand. The first Montessori class was taught in the United States in 1912, by Alexander Graham Bell.
We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe,’ but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.
– Dr. Maria Montessori