Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
The Montessori Method is an education system developed by Maria Montessori who was the first woman to ever qualify as a doctor in Italy (1896). Through her scientific observation and work with children, she founded the Casa die Bambini (or Children's House) where she developed a philosophy that met the progressive needs of the developing child. This philosophy is based on a child's intrinsic motivation for learning and self-initiated growth.
In a Montessori classroom, a child learns from interacting with materials which provide a concrete representation of an abstract concept. In this way, a child learns an abstract concept with concrete and interactive materials which compel a child to become a self-directed learner through experimenting and problem-solving. The teacher (or directress) guides a child in this process to build self-confidence and cognitive development.
The Montessori classroom is also unique in that it is a mixed age classroom, and the child has the option to choose their activity that are in line with their intrinsic interest. The curriculum is designed with uninterrupted activity time to develop their concentration.