Widely recognised as one of the pioneers in the development of early childhood education, Dr. Maria Montessori was actually the first woman physician in Italy. Her Methods revolutionised the education system, as they were based entirely on scientific research and observation.
Maria Montessori was specialised in paediatrics at a time when it was still a new field of study. She found it ironic that she became well known for her work in education, since she was not one for the traditional jobs available to women in her time – working with children, homemaking, or the convent.
She emphasised that the teacher observe the child to truly understand how to teach. The child’s educational needs were always placed in the centre of the curriculum, which naturally invited criticism in her time. Sustaining great resistance she set up her first school, called House of Children in Rome, and began her Method in this way. Surprised at its explosive success, she was then allowed to teach students in the Montessori Method in a larger number of places.
She evolved her Method through trial and error, which, after more than 100 years, has excelled in understanding the child and nudging the child in the right direction, boosting self-learning and self-education. She continued to monitor the development of children after they had entered the real world, and saw them blossom as a result of her teaching techniques.