A Biography With Insight Into Her Spiritual Nature
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 -1952), made history by becoming the first woman physician in Italy. She was born in Chiaraville, and educated at the University of Rome. Although she is best known for creating the Montessori Method of education, her work was not to start schools or have a process of education labeled with her name. Dr. Montessori felt that the word "method" suggesting merely a system of education was an inaccurate indication of the nature of her work. (Montessori, 1966 The Secret of Childhood.) Dr. Montessori defined education as an "aid to life" rather than a method. (Montessori, 1965 The Child In The Church).
She felt that education began at birth and the principles of Montessori education should be applied as soon a child is born. Her goal was to lovingly assist in developing the whole personality and nature of the child as opposed to the shallow imparting of knowledge from one mind to another.
Another driving force in the life of Maria Montessori was her desire to serve God through her work with children. She felt that there was something sacred about the nature of the child. Dr. Montessori emphasizes in her book, The Child In The Church, the many examples of Jesus reverencing the children and warning the adults not to hinder them. It is significant to point out that many of the educational principles of Montessori education are also consistent with the teachings of Jesus.