It’s Montessori’s birthday! Here are 10 things about Maria Montessori which might give you an idea of the kind of person she was:
1. She was born in 1870.
2. She was the first woman in Italy to graduate with a medical degree, not because Italian women weren’t smart enough. It just wasn’t a very accepted thing for a woman to do in those days and she went through many avenues in order to do so.
3. Her initial fame was for being an advocate of women’s rights and education for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
4. She opened the first Children’s House (that’s what Montessori environments, okay! classrooms! are called) in 1907 for underprivileged children. This was so enormously successful with stories of a functionally independent and academically achieving community of up to 40 children with only 1-2 adults that famous people and royalties started to visit.
5. Refused to teach children about facism and allow her Children’s Houses to become facist training centres, and was interned by the Mussolini Regime. Traveled and trained around the world, primarily in Amsterdam, India, UK and USA.
6. Her method is unpatented so literally ANYONE can say they are Montessori! So do do your research.
7. Her face is on the old Italian Lire!
8. Aside from 3-6 year olds, Montessori also conceptualised the Nido and Infant Community for children 0-3 years old, an Elementary School for 6-12 year olds, an Erdkinder for 12-18 year olds and even ideas about Universities, recognising the needs of different phases of development in a human being.
9. Unlike the Vygotsky, Piaget and Eriksson people, Montessori was a practitioner! So she actually worked with the children, made materials and so on. She was also highly esteemed by UNESCO.
10. An extremely important and less known aspect of a Montessori Directress’ work in the Children’s House is observation. We even draw graphs!
Have a great weekend!