Maria Montessori's Innovative Life

By CMD2020
  • Born in Chiaravalle, Province of Ancona, Italy

    Born in Chiaravalle, Province of Ancona, Italy
    Maria was an only child. Her father was an official in the Ministry of Finance, and her mother was well-educated.
  • Begins schooling, age 6, in Rome

    Begins schooling, age 6, in Rome
    The family moved to Rome in 1875. The following year Maria was enrolled in the local state school on the Via di San Nicolo da Tolentino.
  • Finishes tech school, decides on medicine

    Finishes tech school, decides on medicine
    Maria studied mathematics, geometric and ornate drawing, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and languages at the Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci. Her father disapproved of her goal to become a doctor, but her mother was supportive.
  • Qualifies as a doctor, University of Rome

    Qualifies as a doctor, University of Rome
    Initially, Maria was refused entry to medical school. Pope Leo XIII advocated for her, and she was finally admitted. She was discriminated against because of her gender. For instance, she had to perform dissections alone. Maria's final two years of medical school were spent studying pediatrics and psychiatry. She was one of the first women doctors in Italy.
  • Address on women's rights, Berlin

    Address on women's rights, Berlin
    In her speech to the International Congress of Women, Maria argued for social reform and stated that women should be entitled to equal wages with men.
  • Continues studies: psychiatry and pedagogy

    Continues studies: psychiatry and pedagogy
    Maria studied the work of Jean Itard and Édouard Séguin to learn about children with learning differences. She also began studying pedagogy.
  • Co-Director of the Orthophrenic School, Rome

    Co-Director of the Orthophrenic School, Rome
    The school trained teachers to educate mentally-disabled children. The materials and methods that Maria developed were the basis for some of her Montessori Method.
  • Maria's son, Mario, is born

    Maria's son, Mario, is born
    Mario's father was Giuseppe Montesano, a fellow doctor who worked with Maria. They decided not to marry, and Mario was raised by family members, with Maria periodically visiting, until age 15.
  • Begins lecturing on special ed methods

    Begins lecturing on special ed methods
    She became a councilor to the National League for the Protection of Retarded Children, and she began lecturing on methods of education for children with intellectual disabilities at the College of Rome.
  • Anthropology, philosophy, observations

    Anthropology, philosophy, observations
    Maria continued personal research and studies at the University of Rome. 1904 she was qualified as a free lecturer in anthropology for the University of Rome, and she was appointed to lecture in the Pedagogic School at the University, as well.
  • First Casa dei Bambini opens, Rome

    First Casa dei Bambini opens, Rome
    She was invited to open a program for children of working parents. Based on her observations, Maria decided on child-sized furniture, practical life works, and student choice of tasks.
  • Montessori on Via Solari in Milan opens

    Montessori on Via Solari in Milan opens
    Four other Casa dei Bambini also opened. Dr. Montessori observed that by creating an environment where activities supported children's natural development, the children became engaged self-starters.
  • Begins training teachers

    Begins training teachers
    Around 100 students enrolled in Maria's first teacher training course. Some of the students were American. The course took place at
    Villa Montesca in Umbria.
  • First book, Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica...

    First book, Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica...
    Dr. Montessori kept notes of her observations and pedagogical ideas, and they became her first book. It was published first in Italy, and eventually worldwide.
  • The Montessori Method, English translation, is published

    The Montessori Method, English translation, is published
    The English edition of Dr. Montessori's first book was published. It reached second place on the U.S. best-sellers list. Soon, the book was translated into 20 languages.
  • Begins first International Training Course, Rome

    Begins first International Training Course, Rome
    This training course was held in Maria's Roman apartment. The training was truly international, with students from Italy and other parts of Europe, India, China, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and the Philippines.
  • First trip to the United States

    First trip to the United States
    Dr. Montessori meets Alexander Graham Bell, Mabel Bell, the publisher of McClure magazine, and President Wilson's daughter. The Bells create an organization, the Montessori Educational Association, to support and promote Montessori programs.
  • Second trip to U.S.

    Second trip to U.S.
    Maria is accompanied by 17 year-old Mario. She speaks to education groups, including the National Educational Association. The Glass Classroom is presented in San Francisco to show the Montessori Method in action.
  • Moves to Spain

    Moves to Spain
    The Spanish government invited Dr. Montessori and Mario to move to Spain. She created a model school, chapel, and teacher training program. Spain became her home-base for the next 20 years.
  • The Advanced Montessori Method is published

    The Advanced Montessori Method is published
    This book included pedagogy for elementary level teachers. It includes grammar, reading, arithmetic, geometry, music, and drawing.
  • London Training Course

    London Training Course
    The London training course included 50 hours of lectures, 50 hours of teaching with the materials, and 50 hours of observation. This became the norm for Montessori training courses.
  • Meets with Mussolini

    Meets with Mussolini
    Montessori schools are officially recognized by the Italian government.
  • Mario's Montessori diploma, London

    Mario's Montessori diploma, London
    Mario had been working with his mother since 1917. Although he was not a teacher, he completed his Montessori course and received his diploma.
  • Int'l Montessori Congress & AMI

    Int'l Montessori Congress & AMI
    In 1929, the first International Montessori Congress was held at Kronberg Castle, Denmark, and it was decided to found the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
  • Nazis and Fascists close Montessori schools

    Nazis and Fascists close Montessori schools
    The Nazi government in Germany closed all Montessori schools and burned Maria's books. Mussolini also closed the Italian Montessori schools after Maria refused to allow the schools to join Mussolini’s fascist youth movement.
  • Departure from Spain

    Departure from Spain
    Dr. Montessori had to flee Spain because of Franco's coup and the start of the Spanish Civil War. She went first to England, then to Amsterdam. She established a training center and model Montessori school near Amsterdam.
  • Publication of The Secret of Childhood

    Publication of The Secret of Childhood
    Dr. Montessori writes about child development, the Montessori method, and the child in relation to society.
  • Travel to India, house arrest/internment

    Travel to India, house arrest/internment
    Maria and Mario travel to India for a 3-month training course and lecture tour. However, WWII begins. Maria is placed under house arrest, and Mario is interned (released on Maria's birthday). They stay in India for 7 years.
  • Teaching in India

    Teaching in India
    Maria was allowed to conduct teacher trainings. The notes from her lectures in India were eventually published in The Absorbent Mind. She also had her own school in Kodaikanal. Maria also worked on her concepts of Cosmic Education.
  • Returns to Europe, UNESCO

    Returns to Europe, UNESCO
    Dr. Montessori and Mario returned to Mario's children, who had been living in Amsterdam. In 1947 Maria was invited to address UNESCO again, regarding education and peace.
  • Peace Prize nominations

    Peace Prize nominations
    Dr. Montessori was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949. She was nominated again in 1950 and 1951. She received multiple nominations during those years, for a total of six nominations.
  • Death

    Death
    Maria Montessori passed away in Amsterdam on May 6,1952. She was 81 years old.