About Maria Montessori

The main goal of this assignment will be to discuss how Maria Montessori is a significant individual who influences education. The purpose of the paper is to elaborate on her life and the significant part she has done in the field of education.

On August 31st, 1870, Maria Montessori was born in Italy. She attended the La Sapienza Medical School at the University of Rome. She is the creator of the Montessori educational approach, which is used in numerous private and public schools all over the globe. In addition to her numerous writings on pedagogy, she is well known as a physician and instructor. Her early education life was marked with awards of a student with good behaviour in the elementary school. In her secondary education, Maria performed quite well, especially in the Sciences and Mathematics (Gutek, 2004).

Maria Montessori's education

At the university level, she pursued medicine where she faces a lot of hostility because she was a lady. Nonetheless, she graduated and was able to get academic prizes and graduated as a doctor of medicine. In 1897, Maria continued to do her study at the University's Psychiatric Clinic where she focussed her attention to the mentally disabled children. In that environment, she shaped her thinking and focussed her attention more on the disabled children (Standing, 1998).

How Maria Montessori influenced education

Her public advocacy began in late 1897 where she commented on the society's responsibility for the delinquency juvenile. It is during this period that she wrote various articles that focused on creating special institutions and classes for people with disabilities. These articles enabled her to be elected as a lecturer in anthropology and hygiene for women in Italy.

In 1900, an Orthophrenic School was opened. The primary purpose of the school was to train teachers on how to educate mentally challenged children. By that time, Maria Montessori was appointed as the director of the school. For two years, Maria was able to develop various materials and methods that the mentally disabled children could use to adapt to the new way of learning. Within that short period, the school became a success to the point of attracting government officials from the health and education departments from the University of Rome. In the process, the mentally challenged students were able to pass their examinations and were termed as normal children (Gutek, 2004).

In 1901, Maria enrolled at the University of Rome for her Philosophy degree where she studied moral and theoretical philosophy where she was able to adapt other methods of educating the mentally challenged students. In 1903, she was able to publish pedagogy articles and conducted anthropological research with the mentally challenged students from Italy. By 1904, she was a qualified lecturer at the University of Rome as a pedagogic lecturer where she printed a book titled Pedagogical Anthropology.

Effects of Maria Montessori's ideas

Due to the changes that Montessori made to the children in Italy, people began to see the drastic change in the mentally challenged children's mode of education. In 1902, she took part in the education and care of mentally challenged children for poor parents in Rome. It was at this point that Montessori was able to equip the children with a decent education and at the same time providing their basic needs. She offered herself to cater for their personal needs like undressing, dressing, teaching them how to take care of the environment, and caring for the garden. She also supervised their classroom work. In the classroom, she observed behaviours that enabled her to form a foundation for her educational method (Standing, 1998).

Some of the behaviours in the children included deep concentration and attention from the children, repetition of the same activity, and sensitivity to creating order in their environment during their free time. It was noticed that the children preferred doing more practical activities as compared to playing with the Montessori toys that they were provided. Other self-discoveries she observed from the children include self-discipline and that the children were less motivated by sweets or any other rewards that were given as enticements (Gutek, 2004).

The changes Maria Montessori made in education

Based on the observations that Maria Montessori rendered on the children, she came up with some practices that formed the basis of her education psychology. One of the changes she made concerning the first education was to replace the heavy furniture of the classroom desks and chairs with child-sized ones that were comfortable, light, and easy to move around. She also replaced the high shelved materials with child-sized and easily accessible shelves.

She was able to expand the various practical activities such as personal care and sweeping to other environment-related activities such as arranging flowers, washing of hands, gymnastics, taking care of pets, and cooking. She also allowed the children to attend or miss classes they felt they did not want. Lastly, she recommended that the student's classes during the winter can have their lessons begin from 9.00 am and end at 4.00 pm (Gutek, 2004).

In the breakdown of the lesson plan, she began her lessons with greetings and personal cleanliness. The children gave an account of how their previous day was and engaged in intellectual exercises, gymnastics, free games, directed games, and manual work. Lastly, they played and sang in the open air. She believed that all children have the potential to learn different things irrespective of whether they are physically or mentally challenged. Due to her endless endeavours, her method of education was adopted in the various countries like Italy, the United States of America, Spain, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and other African countries and they are still practiced to date. She has so far published several books in pedagogy and various articles based on the same. Her face is represented in the Italian 1000 Lire bank note in remembrance of her great work. She died in 1952 at the age of 81 in Netherlands (Standing, 1998).


Gutek, G. L. (2004). The Montessori Method - The origins of an educational innovation including an abridged and annotated edition of Maria Montessori's: The Montessori method. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Standing, E. M. (1998). Maria Montessori, her life and work. NAL.

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