Born in 1870, Maria Montessori was the first woman granted a medical degree by the University of Rome. Her medical work afforded her the opportunity to study the groundbreaking work of Dr. Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Édouard Seguin. Inspired by their techniques in educating the senses and respecting the individual child, Montessori began her work.
She designed materials and techniques that allowed children to work in ways previously considered beyond their capacity. Through her observations, Montessori realized that learning occurs naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each individual. In 1907 she established the first Casa de Bambini (Children’s House) and continued to develop her method. Dr. Montessori gave the first training course for teachers in 1909. Her published book, The Montessori Method, was derived from the course notes. During World War II, Dr. Montessori worked in India where she continued to develop her work. She was nominated three times for a Nobel Peace prize. She died in Holland in 1952.