Montessori history

Maria Montessori grew up at the end of the 19th century in an intellectual family active in the unification of Italy, the Risorgimento, to create a single state in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy.
After sixty years of liberal democracy in Italy the fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, ends it in 1922 with the March on Rome. After World War2 Italy became a republic.


Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was born on 31 August 1870 in Chiaravalle, Marche, Italy to Alessandro Montessori and Renilde Stoppani.

In 1883 Montessori entered a secondary, technical school. And in 1886, at the age of 16, she continued her schooling at the technical institute Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci, where she graduated in 1890 at the age of 20, with a certificate in physics and mathematics. In 1890, she enrolled in the University of Rome in a degree course in botany, zoology, experimental physics, histology, anatomy, and general and organic chemistry, and earning her diploma di licenza in 1892. In 1893 she entered into the medical program at the university of Rome and graduated in 1896 as a doctor of medicine. 









Maria Montessori was one of the first women to became a Physician in Italy, and was a brilliant Scientist and Philosopher.

From 1896 to 1901, Montessori worked with and researched so-called "phrenasthenic" children—in modern terms, children experiencing some form of cognitive delay, illness, or disability at the university's psychiatric clinic and later as co-director of the Scuola Magistrale Ortofrenica. She also began to travel, study, speak, and publish nationally and internationally, coming to prominence as an advocate for women's rights and education for children with learning difficulties

Montessori lived in the time of the pedagogues Séguin, Itard, Piaget, Freud, Fröbel, Dalton, Steiner, etc.
In 1902 she enrolled in the philosophy degree course at the University of Rome. She studied theoretical and moral philosophy, history of philosophy, and psychology, she also pursued independent study in anthropology and educational philosophy, conducted observations and experimental research in elementary schools,

In 1906, Montessori was invited to oversee the care and education of a group of children of working parents in a new apartment building for low-income families in the San Lorenzo district in Rome. Montessori was interested in applying her work and methods to children without mental disabilities, and she accepted. The first Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, opened on 6 January 1907, enrolling about 50 children between the ages of two and six.
Based on her observations, Montessori implemented a number of practices. She furnished the area with child-sized tables and chairs light enough for the children to move, and placed child-sized materials on low, accessible shelves. She prepared the environment to be able to facilitate a range of practical activities such as sweeping and personal care including a wide variety of exercises for the care of the environment and the self, such as flower arranging, hand washing, gymnastics, care of pets, and cooking. She also included large open-air sections in the area encouraging children to come and go as they please in the room's different areas and lessons.

Based on her observations, Montessori saw the benefit of mixed age groups (the older children helped and taught the younger children), allowing children free choice of the materials, uninterrupted work, and freedom of movement and activity within the limits set by the environment. She began to see independence as the aim of education, and the role of the teacher as an observer and director of children's innate psychological development.

In 1913 Montessori held the First International Montessori Training Course in Rome attended by students from 17 countries among others: Argentina, Brazil, Chili, USA, Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, China and most of the European countries.

In 1911 and 1912, Montessori's work was popular and widely publicized in the US, especially in a series of articles in McClure's Magazine. The first North American Montessori school was opened in October 1911, in New York.
By 1913 there were more than 100 Montessori schools in the country. Montessori traveled to the United States in December 1913 on a three-week lecture tour which included films of her European classrooms.
Montessori returned to the US in 1915, sponsored by the National Education Association, to demonstrate her work at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California, and to give a third international training course. A glass-walled classroom was installed at the Exposition, and thousands of observers came to see a class of 21 students.
Montessori's father died in November 1915, and she returned to Italy.

Between 1913 and 1936 Montessori schools and Montessori societies were established in Italy, The Netherlands, England, USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Canada, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

In 1916, Montessori returned to Europe and took up residence in Barcelona, Spain. Over the next 20 years Montessori traveled and lectured widely in Europe and gave numerous teacher training courses. Montessori education experienced significant growth in Spain, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy.

In 1917, Montessori lectured in Amsterdam, and the Netherlands Montessori Society was founded. She returned in 1920 to give a series of lectures at the University of Amsterdam. Montessori programs flourished in the Netherlands, and by the mid-1930s there were more than 200 Montessori schools in the country.

In 1926 and 1927 she gave lectures in Argentina.

Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 1929 at the International Montessori Congress in Denmark, to oversee the activities of schools and societies all over the world, to supervise the training of teachers and to protect her legacy.

In 1934 Mussolini forbade all Montessori schools in Italy.

With the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, political and social conditions drove Montessori to leave Spain and, by invitation of Ada Pierson, moved to Amsterdam permanently.
At the same time the headquarters of the Association Montessori Internationale, or AMI, was moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where it still is located.

In 1936 she first lived in LAREN, The Netherlands and started a research institute and a Montessorischool.

In 1939 Montessori was invited to give a training course in INDIA by George Sydney Arundale, president of the Theosophical Society Adyar, and left the Netherlands with her son Mario for Chennai.
Montessori intended to give a tour of lectures at various universities in India, and then return to Europe. When Italy entered WorldWar2 on the side of Germany in 1940, Britain interned all Italians in the UK and its dominions as enemy aliens. In fact, only Mario Montessori was interned, while Montessori herself was confined to the Theosophical Society compound. Mario was reunited with his mother after two months.
While in India, Montessori observed children and adolescents of all ages and turned to the study of infancy.

In 1944 she gave a series of 30 lectures on the first three years of life, and a government-recognized training course in Sri Lanka.
In 1945 Montessori attended the first All India Montessori Conference in Jaipur, and in 1946, with the war over, she and Mario returned to Amsterdam. Then at the age of 76, Montessori spent the next six years travelling in Europe and India.
She gave a training course in London in 1946, and in 1947 opened a training institute there. Also in 1947, she returned to Italy to re-establish the Opera Nazionale Montessori and gave two more training courses. Later that year she returned to India and gave courses in Adyar and Ahmedabad. During these courses, Montessori described the development of the child from birth onwards and presented her concept of the Four Planes of Development. In 1949 she gave a course in Karachi, Pakistan and the Pakistan Montessori Association was founded.
Also in 1949 Montessori attended the 8th International Montessori Congress in San Remo, Italy, where a model classroom was demonstrated and she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (read the Foreword in Education and Peace). Montessori was also awarded the French Legion of Honor, the Dutch Order of Orange Nassau, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.
In 1950 she visited Scandinavia, represented Italy at the UNESCO conference in Florence, presented at the 29th international Montessori training course in Perugia, Italy and gave a national course in Rome, and was again nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1951 she participated in the 9th International Montessori Congress in London, gave a training course in Innsbruck, was nominated for the third time for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Montessori was directly involved in the development and founding of the UNESCO Institute for Education in 1951. She was present at the first preliminary meeting of the UNESCO Governing Board in Wiesbaden, Germany and delivered a speech. to emphasize again her advocacy for the rights of the child (read chapter 7: Declaration of the Rights of the Child).
On December 10, 1951 was the third anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in observance of this UNESCO held a celebration. Montessori was one of the invited guests who would also deliver a speech to commemorate and memorialize the momentous occasion. As with her speech six months previously – in front of the UNESCO Board of Governors in Wiesbaden – Montessori once again highlighted the lack of any "Declaration of the Rights of the Child" stating in part, "in truth, the [Universal] Declaration of Human Rights appears to be exclusively dedicated to adult society."

Montessori died on 6 May 1952, at the age of 81 in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands where she is buried and where you still can visit her grave. Her tombstone reads "I ask the dear children, who can do anything, to join me in building peace among men and in the world."