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María Montessori


“Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference.”
– Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”


Maria Montessori was born on the 31st August 1870 in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father, Alessandro, was an accountant in the civil service, and her mother, Renilde Stoppani, was well educated and had a passion for reading.


The Montessori family moved to Rome in 1875 and the following year Maria was enrolled in the local state school. Breaking conventional barriers from the beginning of her education, Maria initially had aspirations to become an engineer. 


When Maria graduated secondary school, she became determined to enter medical school and become a doctor. Despite her parents’ encouragement to enter teaching, Maria wanted to study the male dominated field of medicine. After initially being refused, with the endorsement of Pope Leo XIII, Maria was eventually given entry to the University of Rome in 1890, becoming one of the first women in medical school in Italy. Despite facing many obstacles due to her gender, Maria qualified as a doctor in July 1896.

Maria Montessori was an Italian pedagogue that renovated teaching by developing a particularly new method, known as the Montessori Method. It was used in primary schools in her native Italy; years later it began its expansion to the rest of the world.
Dr. Montessori believed that children have within them everything they need to become highly functioning adults. She felt that the goal of education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn.
In a Montessori classroom, the child’s desire to learn is supported by freedom of choice, repetition of lessons, and practice. The Montessori classroom materials fulfill these purposes, as well as give the child specific immediate information. Classroom use of Montessori materials is based on the child’s unique aptitude for learning at each developmental stage. Dr. Montessori identified the learning style of children through age 6 as the “absorbent mind” which she compared to a sponge in the way it absorbs information from the environment. The process is evident in the way a two-year-old learns language, without formal instruction and without the conscious tedious effort which an adult must make to master a foreign tongue. Acquiring information in this way is a natural and delightful activity for the young child, who employs all of their senses to investigate their interesting surroundings. One hundred years of experience have proved Montessori’s theory that a young child can learn to read, write and calculate in the same natural way that they learned to walk and talk.
Dr. Montessori is considered one of the most important pioneers in education. Her ideas are renown all over the world and have been a great influence on mainstream contemporary education.

The Montessori Method is based in the promotion of the child´s own initiative and answers capabilities, through didactic materials especially design for this purpose. The method proposes a great diversification and freedom of work.

She worked with big scientific personalities from her time, all who endorsed her. Dr. Montessori claimed that “one of the most urgent efforts ever to be made in favor of the reconstruction of society, is in the construction of education” “then to show the child that he or she is destined to shape a humanity capable of understanding and controlling our current civilization.”

Dr. Montessori had an encounter with Mahatma Gandhi, who commented on the importance of childhood education to promote peace. Because of this, the doctor moved to India and worked for several years there.
Her work in many countries has made her one of the great pioneers of education and her work has influenced great pedagogues.
Thanks to her work on children, she was decorated with the League of Honor granted by the French government.
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Famous People Educated at Montessori schools:

There are many ‘famous’ people that attended a Montessori school in some stage of their life. While one can argue, that there are many successful people who were not exposed to Montessori education, interesting is that many of those who attended Montessori school praise it as one of the important success factors.

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founders of Google

  • Jeff Bezos – founder of

  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – former first lady (John F. Kennedy)

  • Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs – singer

  • Prince William and Prince Harry

  • T. Berry Brazelton – pediatrician and author

  • Julia Child – author, chef, TV cooking shows

  • Elizabeth Berridge – actress

  • Kami Cotler – actress

  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert – actors

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize winner for Literature

  • Katherine Graham – ex-owner of the Washington Post

  • Anne Frank – author, diarist from World War II

  •  Taylor Swift – Singer & songwriter

  • Jimmy Wales – Wikipedia Founder

  • George Clooney - Actor

  • Beyonce Knowles – Singer & songwriter

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