Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiraville, Italy on 31st August 1870. In 1896 Madame Montessori became the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School and then she joined the staff of the University Psychiatric Clinic. She was also the first Lady Doctor to Graduate in those times. Being required to oversee children who were mentally retarded she became convinced that these children could learn if given the proper tools. She studied the work of Jean Itard and Eduardo Sequin-Pioneers in material based studies for the retarded children and started to design such tools for them.
As director of the State Orthopedic School in 1889,she prepared teaching materials, made notes and observed them for two years. She was so surprised at how much these children could learn that she decided to devote her energies to education. She returned to University of Rome to study philosophy, psychology and anthropology.
In 1907 a group of construction Engineers requested Madame Montessori to help manage the children of the labours so that the parents could go to work in peace and this resulted in “Casa- De- Bambini” i.e. “House Of Children”. She offered these children specially designed materials and was delighted with their response to the sensorial materials, the child-sized furniture and eagerness to learn. In response to the requests she taught reading and writing. She made sandpaper letters for them to trace and when they discovered the relationship of letters, sounds, writing and words to reading; they become even more excited about learning.
Maria Montessori travelled all the way to India and was very touched by the intimacy of the Mother and child relationship in Indian Society. She trained educators and supported the development of Montessori schools in many regions. From then her theories have played an important role in child’s development in educational field and today her theories have withstood the test of time as current research continue to confirm many of the concepts and ideas initiated by this visionary leader.