Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian lady doctor, who later became an eminent educationist was born in 1870. She was the first woman upon whom the University of Rome conferred the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1894. Thereafter she worked as a professor of Anthropology in this very university from 1900 to 1907. She was put in charge of the feeble-minded children at the psychiatric centre of this very university. Her dealings with the feeble-minded children led her to conclude that the feeble-mindedness of children was very much due to the dullness of their senses. Hence she stated that proper sense training would enable feeble-minded children to acquire some knowledge. This study of feeble-minded children helped her to make a study of the education of normal children which, ultimately gave to the world the “Montessori System of Education”. After making a thorough study of teaching methods prevalent in the children’s school she advocated that the education of children should be based on the principle of “self-education or auto education”.
In 1907, Dr Montessori opened a school known as “Children’s House”. Here she evolved a unique method for educating children through the process of sense training. She developed the play-way technique through practical experimentation. She taught them without the help of books. Children took a keen interest in education through her new method. Her method attracted the attention of the whole world and she received invitations from several countries, including America and England, to demonstrate her method.
In 1922, she was appointed as inspectress of Infant Schools by the Government of Italy. She also began to impart training to teachers not only in her own country but also in many countries of Europe including England. The Durban University conferred on her honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
In 1931, she came to India and conducted several training courses for teachers of young children. She stayed in India up to 1951. She died in Holland in May 1952.
Dr Montessori wrote many books on education. Her famous books are-
- The Discovery of Child.
- The Secret of Childhood.
- What you should know about your Child.
- To Educate the Human Potential.
- Child Training.
- The Child Place and Education.
- The Montessori Method.
- The Absorbent Mind.
- Education for a New World.
- Reconstruction in Education.