Maria Montessori Biography
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an intelligent feminist, psychiatrist and Italian pedagogue, who stood out especially in she studied medicinethe field of Pedagogy, and not so much in that of Psychiatry. The most important contribution in Psychiatry was his classification of mental illnesses, curiously realized shortly after Sigmund Freud, the creator of Psychoanalysis, made his famous Classification of Neuroses.
Maria Montessori was born in Chiaraballe, a village in Ancona, (Italy) and died in Noordwjek (Holland). Montessori was the first woman to graduate as a doctor in Italy. María Montessori was the daughter of Alessandro Montessori, a conservative soldier, who initially opposed she studied medicine, and Renilde Stoppani.
Before studying Medicine, María Montessori studied Engineering. Subsequently he also studied Philosophy at the University of Rome, Experimental Psychology, Anthropology, etc. With regard to the latter subject She even became a professor at the Faculty of Anthropology, and also wrote a book entitled “Pedagogical Anthropology“.
After the unification of Italy, Maria Montessori, a deeply Catholic woman, became interested in the problems of women and children. In 1898 Montessori attended a Pedagogical Congress in Turin In that congress she affirmed that the child with intellectual delay could be educated successfully, and as proof of this she presented the results of her work with retarded children.
Maria Montessori also thought that the child should learn by himself and at his own pace. He further argued that it was the teacher’s duty to encourage the students’ initiative. Montessori developed a pedagogical method, the Montessori Method, aimed at very young children, and for whose teaching she used a didactic material designed by herself. Her pedagogical method have influence of the great Swiss pedagogue Pestalozzi.
In 1907 the first “Children’s House” (Casa dei Bambini) was opened, where the educational methods of Maria Montessori were applied. This was quickly followed by many other houses throughout Italy. At first Maria has the support of Mussolini, but, realizing that the interest of the Duce was to indoctrinate the children, she moved away from him.
Tireless traveler, Maria Montessori visited Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, Holland, Sweden, Spain, North America, Argentina, Pakistan, China, India, etc. In 1909 Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, invites her to the USA where she opens the first “Children’s House” in America, and in 1918 she presents a Montessori classroom at the San Francisco World’s Fair where she is awarded two gold medals.
Montessori received a lot of honors and awards. She was received by the Queen of Holland, she was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Durhan (United Kingdom) and by the University of Amsterdam (Holland), she received the Legion of Honor of France, and be proposed three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, etc.
In 1947 she settled permanently in Holland, where she died five years later.
(Edited by María Moya Guirao, M.D.)