Life of Maria Montessori, MD

1870-1952

Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society. - Maria Montessori, Education for a New World.

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy. She was the first woman to becoming the first female doctor in Italy. She worked in the field of Psychology, Anthropology and Education. She believed that each child was unique waiting to be flower through its innate intelligence, rather than a someone who needs to be forced with information. She prepared environments that supported child's natural learning ability, at their own pace they set, and this principle was called "spontaneous self development". This special equipment for learning provides increasing complexity which continues to motivate the child to learn better and faster. She started a school for children in a housing project in Rome, which opened on January 6, 1907, called "Casa Dei Bambini" or Children's House, in a poor neighborhood of Rome. It was observed that the Montessori method of teaching enabled children to learn to read and write much more quickly and with greater facility than has otherwise been possible. The success of this school sparked the opening of many more, and a worldwide interest in Montessori's methods of education.

She was invited to introduce her methods to US by Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and others. She spoke at the Carnegie Hall in 1915, and set up an environment for Montessori education for twenty-one children for over four months. This method was widely observed closely by many experts, and the only two gold medals awarded that year went to two children from this class. This changed the future of children education forever. She was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize twice.

In the year 1939, the Theosophical Society of India extended an invitation for Maria Montessori to visit India. This started the beginning of her special relationship and interest in India. The second world war forced her to extend her stay, to the benefit of India. With the help of her son, Mario, she conducted sixteen batches of courses called the Indian Montessori Training Courses, which created a strong foundation for Montessori Education movement in India.