The Origins

The current success and broad presence of Montessori is based on a rich history. For over 100 years, the Montessori method has been quietly revolutionizing education. By some measures, there are more than 5,000 Montessori schools in the United States and more than 20,000 in 110 countries worldwide. The origins are almost as amazing as the method itself.

In 1907, a young physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, opened a small school in Rome’s inner city. The school was unlike anything that had existed previously. It was a bold move based on a daring idea, formulated after observing hundreds of children. Simply put:

Children Teach Themselves

Dr. Montessori expanded her ideas into a universal vision. Coupled with a carefully crafted classroom approach informed by her observations, she developed an educational method that is now celebrated around the world.

Maria Montessori was a visionary, a woman who led an extraordinary life. As the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome School of Medicine, Montessori gained recognition at a young age for her work in math and the established sciences. She also pursued study in the newer disciplines of the day, anthropology and psychiatry, two areas of interest that would be of great value to her in her work as a physician and scientist.

Her approach to education was developed based on her observations in conjunction with her background in psychology and her belief that the education of children was the means to create a better society. She observed children around the world and found that the laws of development she had recognized in Italy were universal and inherent in children of all races and cultures. The Montessori approach to education continues to be respected and practiced internationally today.

To be a woman actively practicing medicine in the Italy of 1896 was a remarkable enough achievement to bring public acclaim and noteriety. Yet it was her gift to children—her gift of truly seeing, understanding, and respecting children—that led to her greatest accomplishment: development of a unique approach to the education of children. Her approach remains as powerful, inventive, and child-responsive today as it was in 1907 when she opened her first school.

Since that time, the Montessori method has educated millions of students to become creative, confident, compassionate and gifted leaders throughout the globe. Dr. Maria Montessori believed wholeheartedly that every child could be an agent for change and peace in the world. By nurturing the intellects and spirits of children, the Montessori method continues to positively affect our collective future.

Download information about Dr. Maria Montessori’s life

Download information about Mario Montessori, Sr.