Who was Dr. Maria Montessori?
Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori (MON-tiss-OR-ee); August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. At an early age, Montessori broke gender barriers and expectations when she enrolled in classes at an all-boys technical school, with hopes of becoming an engineer. She soon had a change of heart and began medical school at the Sapienza University of Rome, where she graduated with honors in 1896. Her educational method is in use today in many public and private schools globally.
You must realise that what happened was something so great and so stirring that its importance could never be sufficiently recognized. That it will never be sufficiently studied, is certain, for it is the secret of life itself. We cannot fully know its causes. It is not possible that it came because of my method, for at the time my method did not yet exist. This is the clearest proof that it was a revelation that emanated from the children themselves.
It cannot have come from an adult person; the thought, the very principle that the adult should stand aside to make room for the child, could never have come from the adult. Anyone who wants to follow my method must understand that he should not honour me but follow the child as his leader.
(1942, Dr. Montessori writes of San Lorenzo 1907)