Dr. Maria Montessori has a remarkable contribution in Education, especially in early childhood education. Still, people acknowledged her work and follow her method without any changes.
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Italy 31st August 1870. Her father was a civil servant and her mother was well educated. Dr. Maria Montessori’s father frequent travel for the job gave her an opportunity to have education in big cities throughout Italy. In those days the whole Europe was conservative about female education resultantly Dr. Maria Montessori face the same, but she patiently faced the challenges and despite the opposition of her father, teachers and male fellows she graduated with highest honors from the Medical School of the University of Rome in 1896 and become the first female physician in Italy.
As a physician, Dr. Maria Montessori specialized in pediatrics. Montessori taught at the medical school of the University of Rome and through its free clinic, she worked with poor and working-class children. Her work with poor children convinced her that intelligent is not rare and it presents itself in different forms hampered by the traditional education system. In 1900, Montessori was appointed as a Director of the new Orthophrenic School attached with the University of Rome. The school was established for special children of the city diagnosed with Autistic and mentally disabled. During her daily school round, she observed some awful behavior of the children and acquired the reason from one of the nurse. In response, she replied that the children fight for food and threw themselves on the floor for breadcrumbs. In that school, the children were all the time kept in small prison-like rooms with less food. There were no hopes for recovery. She during her observation discovered that the special children needed meaningful activities for their learning and development. She started working on changing the environment of the school. To bring improvement in the environment and children behavior, she started searching for educational experiments done previously with special children. During her search, she studied Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard and Edouard Sequin and took their idea of a scientific approach to education, based on observation and experiment. She zealously worked with the disabled children and her hard work paid her off when after two years of tireless efforts the disabled children were able to pass the standardized exam organized by the Italian Public School. With the passage of time, her work got fame and people started admiring her efforts.
During her work with special children, she started thinking about the reason behind the unsatisfactory progress of normal children. Her desire to work with normal children came into reality in 1907 when she was offered a position of a medical director for a day-care center, named Casa dei Bambini. The school was situated in the worst slum district of Rome. The school situation was worst as there was one untrained teacher for 50 children age 02-05 years. The children had behavioral problems such as aggression, short temperedness, impatience etc. Montessori implemented her teaching method and to her surprise, the children progressed rapidly.
Working with special children, Montessori engaged the elder children with small ones. Soon the discipline problems disappeared, and children started behaving nicely. During her experiment, she was criticized by people on her method to which she said, “I followed these children, studying them, studying them closely, and they taught me how to teach”. Montessori children showed tremendous progress in the academic and drastic change in their behavior.
Montessori designed different activities and improved them through trial and errors. After getting success, she opened schools, conducted workshops and training to train the teachers to help children reach their potential. Montessori though her experiments had discovered the importance of well-structured environment in getting promising results.
1930 was the peak productive time of her life where she studied children and developed a curriculum that changes the mindset of the educational world and provided a platform for children for holistic development. She devoted her life for regenerating mankind and travel to different countries to provide help and share experiences and knowledge with others.
Maria Montessori traveled to India in 1939 with her son and conducted 16 courses. In 1947 she went back to Europe and returned back in the same year for some more courses.
Dr. Montessori left the world forever on May 6, 1952 in Netherland, but her name is still alive and acknowledged by all.
Dr. Maria Montessori with her critical and creative mind changed the mindset of the people and provided a base for other educationist, researchers, and psychologists to explore further and contribute to children life. Her method is still appreciated and followed in many countries, therefore, educationists said her “A women much ahead of her time”.
Dear readers, we have many Maria’s in the world but do not have Dr. Maria Montessori who with little support, many challenges, opposition, and adverseness changed the faith of our children.
Dear Females, please be courageous and excel your skills. Be a change agent for social change. Dr. Maria Montessori life is a great example for all females who with such challenges give up and waste their talent and potential. Please realize your worth; please challenge the challenges you face that will ultimately open the doors of opportunity for you and for the world.
Thank you, Dr. Maria Montessori, you are the daughter of the world and will be remembered forever.