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Maria Montessori

Physician, Educator

Country:Italy, Netherlands

Lifetime: 1870 - 1952 Passed: ≈ 70 years ago

Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. At an early age, Montessori enrolled in classes at an all-boys technical school, with hopes of becoming an engineer. She soon had a change of heart and began medical school at the Sapienza University of Rome, where she graduated with honors in 1896. Her educational method is in use today in many public and private schools globally.

 

Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy. The Montessori family moved to Florence in 1873, then to Rome in 1875 because of her father's work. In 1883 or 1884, at the age of 13, Montessori entered a secondary, technical school, Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti, where she studied Italian, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, accounting, history, geography, and sciences. She graduated in 1886 with good grades and examination results.

 

Montessori moved forward with her intention to study medicine. She appealed to Guido Baccelli, the professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rome, but was strongly discouraged. In 1890, she enrolled in the University of Rome in a degree course in natural sciences, passing examinations in botany, zoology, experimental physics, histology, anatomy, and general and organic chemistry, and earning her diploma di licenza in 1892.

 

Montessori gave a training course at the Theosophical Society in Madras in 1939, and had intended to give a tour of lectures at various universities, and then return to Europe.  When Italy entered WWII on the side of Germany in 1940, Britain interned all Italians in the UK and its colonies as enemy aliens. In fact, only Mario Montessori was interned, while Montessori herself was confined to the Theosophical Society compound, and Mario was reunited with his mother after two months. The Montessoris remained in Madras and Kodaikanal until 1946, although they were allowed to travel in connection with lectures and courses.

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Books by Maria Montessori