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Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy and became the first female doctor in the country. During her studies, she was kept separate from the male students and, through this isolation, was given more time than usual to study the body and its natural development. After receiving her medical degree, she worked in the asylums of Rome. There she discovered children who were unable to function in society and school; she worked with these children and developed a system for teaching them which allowed them to become successful.

Additionally, Dr. Montessori worked closely with Edouard Seguin, a French psychologist, to develop materials to aid in the natural development of children. By 1906, she established the first “Casa dei Bambini” or Children’s House in Rome, which was a place for the children who were left at home while their parents went to work. As she developed her method, she became more successful. News of her success spread across Europe, and affluent families became interested in seeing if her methodologies work for their children. Largely, they were, and as this success was proven, Montessori became more popular. This began her travels that spread the effectiveness of her method around the world.

During her travels, she lectured, gave speeches, trained teachers, and wrote eighteen books about her method. Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, as people everywhere admired her desire to create Peace in education. While in the United States, she created the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to help further her work. She died in Holland in 1952, and today her methods and materials are still used worldwide.

As more information is uncovered about how our mind collects and process information, many of the techniques that Montessori developed are validated by science. The Montessori Method is a powerful program developed to address the child’s need to develop mind, body, and spirit. Many people have been affected by her work, as shown by the lists below:

Famous people who have attended Montessori schools:

  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, editor, First Lady
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Founders of Google
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
  • George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor
  • Anne Frank, famous diarist from World War II
  • Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
  • Will Wright, designer of The Sims
  • Katherine Graham, owner-editor of The Washington Post
  • Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, music star and business mogul
  • Julia Child, chef, TV star and cookbook author
  • Helen Hunt, Academy Award-winning actress
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  • Joshua Bell, violinist
  • Lea Salonga, multi-awarded singer and actress
  • Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
  • Kami Cotler, actress
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, actress siblings
  • Peter Drucker, Management guru
  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
  • Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian painter and architect

Famous people who have chosen Montessori schools for their own children:

  • Bill and Hillary Clinton, Former President and New York Senator
  • Cher Bono, singer, actress
  • John Bradshaw, psychologist and author
  • Yul Brynner, former actor
  • Marcy Carcy, TV producer
  • Michael Douglas, actor
  • Shari Lewis, former puppeteer
  • Yo Yo Ma, cellist
  • Willie Nelson, musician, has a Montessori school on his ranch
  • Elizabeth Berridge, actress
  • David Blaine, street magician
  • Jennifer Granholm and Daniel Mulhern, Governor of Michigan
  • Stephen J. Cannell, TV writer-producer-director
  • Patty Duke Austin, actress

Others with a Montessori connection:

  • Thomas Edison, noted scientist and inventor, helped found a Montessori school
  • President Wilson’s daughter, trained as a Montessori teacher; there was a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House during Wilson’s presidency
  • Erik Erikson, anthropologist/author, had a Montessori teaching certificate
  • Jean Piaget, noted Swiss psychologist, made his first observations of children in a Montessori school, also the head of the Swiss Montessori Society
  • Mister Rogers, children’s TV personality, strong supporter of Montessori education
  • Alexander Graham Bell, inventor, and wife Mabel founded the Montessori Education Association in 1913, also provided financial support to Dr. Montessori and helped establish the first Montessori classes in Canada and the US













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