Over a century ago, an educator, writer, lecturer and medical doctor by the name of Maria Montessori (1870-1952) developed a new approach for educating and nurturing young children. As the first woman medical doctor in Italy, Dr. Montessori became very involved in the care and education of young children. Through her observations and teachings, she concluded that every child is an individual learner and should be encouraged to work at their own pace on projects they initiate themselves. She believed that educating children was a way to create a better society. Her philosophy worked from the basic premise that children learn better when they are given the opportunity to choose and discover in their own way.
Maria Montessori was a genius before her time. She believed a child’s mind, from birth to six years, was different from adults, and she concluded that children effortlessly soak in everything in their culture and environment. She saw a tremendous need for children to have respectful, stimulating, nurturing, and meaningful direction and guidance during what she called the “absorbent mind stage.”
The Montessori method of teaching started in Italy, where Dr. Montessori lived. It continued to gain popularity throughout Europe in the early 1900s and today is practiced all over the world.
Montessori has helped to shape our culture-makers:
Many of these former Montessori students are known for their initiative, creativity, and self confidence. These include actors George Clooney, Cami Cotler, John and Joan Cusack, Dakota Fanning, Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, Helen Hunt, and Lea Salonga; artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser; authors Anne Frank and T. Berry Brazelton; management guru Peter Drucker; Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos; Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales; Sims designer Will Wright; former Washington Post owner and editor Katharine Graham; former First Lady and editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez; celebrity chef and author Julia Child; magician David Blaine; media mogul Sean Combs; musician Joshua Bell; and Princes William and Harry.