Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952).
Dr. Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. Having decided on a medical career and having mastered the natural sciences, she obtained an MD at the age of 26 years from the University of Rome in 1896. She distinguished herself by securing an honours double degree as Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Surgery. Dr. Montessori was the first woman in Italy to become a doctor in the Faculty of Medicine.
From 1896 to 1911, Dr. Montessori practised medicine and held the Professorial Chair for Hygiene and Anthropology at the University of Rome.
In 1898, in the course of her professional contact with children, she became interested in education as she had an intense, passionate interest in the development of young children. In 1907 she opened the first institution for children under six years of age, which she called Casa dei Bambini (Children's House).
In 1909, her book, "The Montessori Method" was published and a second book, "The Advanced Montessori Method", was published in 1917.
Montessori Education is founded upon knowledge of the development of the body and mind of the Child. Through her observations of children, Dr. Montessori believed that child development followed the "Cosmic Laws of Life". In what she called Cosmic Education, the child must be free to develop according to these laws of development.
The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was formed in 1929 with the following aim:
Spreading knowledge of how the child, immature and struggling to develop his own powers, may be assisted in the task of self-realisation of reaching his full perfection of growth.
Dr. Montessori died in Holland in 1952.