Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr Maria Montessori, born in Italy in 1870, was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy. Beginning with her observations and work with children with mental and learning disabilities, she began applying her work and methods to mentally normal children in 1906, when she opened the first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) for children of 2 – 7 years old.
Through further research and observation, she noticed children constructing their own personalities while interacting with the environment around them – and she began to create the prepared environment in order to encourage this more naturally.
Instead of big and heavy tables, shelves and chairs, the materials were more centered around the child, who was able to carry the chairs, select and return learning materials on their own accord to enforce a sense of order and independence.
Maria Montessori’s education in biology, psychiatry and anthropology aided greatly in her quest to develop this system of education, which continued through her life as she observed more children throughout the world.
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