In 1906, Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian educator, physician, and scientist, who had just judged an international competition on the subjects of scientific pedagogy and experimental psychology, was invited to create a childcare center in San Lorenzo, a poor, inner-city district of Rome. There, she would be working with some of the area’s most disadvantaged, and previously unschooled, children.
Utilizing scientific observation and experience gained from her earlier work with young children, Dr. Montessori designed unique learning materials for them, many of which are still in use in Montessori classrooms today, and created a classroom environment that fostered the children’s natural desire to learn.
From its humble beginnings more than 100 years ago as a single schoolroom for a group of underprivileged children in Rome, Italy, Montessori education has taken a firm foothold on the education landscape. In the U.S. alone, approximately 5,000 Montessori schools now serve over one million children, from infancy through adolescence. Thousands more Montessori schools exist worldwide.
The American Montessori Society is thriving, as is the Association Montessori Internationale and its member societies worldwide. Other Montessori groups also offer opportunities for networking, collaboration, and professional growth.
You can read more about Dr. Montessori here.