The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Montessori, Maria
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|Edition of 1920. See also Maria Montessori on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
MONTESSORI, mon'tës-sō'rē, Maria, Italian educator: b. Rome, about 1872. She was educated to be a physician, and while studying applied herself especially to the investigation of nervous diseases in children, and to the problem of evolving a form of training that would draw out the capabilities of those of diseased and abnormal temperaments. She was the first woman to be graduated in medicine at the University of Rome (1894), and for some time she acted as an assistant in the Psychiatric Clinic and later as a lecturer on anthropology in that institution. Then for six years she was in charge of one of the hospitals for defective children in Rome. Having acquired a familiarity with the systems of Pestalozzi, Fröbel, Seguin, Itard and other early masters, she now developed therefrom a method of educating feeble-minded children under more modern conditions. In 1898-1900 she was directress of the Scuola Ortofrencia, or mind-strengthening school, where she met with marked success in applying the methods, particularly, of Seguin and Ilard to the education of defectives. She then devoted herself to the study of experimental psychology, pedagogic anthropology and the methods of modern education. An occasion offered in 1907 for putting her theories to practical test, when a school was established in connection with the tenants erected by the Roman Association for Good Building. The first house (Cora dei Bambini) was opened in January 1907, and was soon followed by three others. Dr. Montessori maintained her connection with these schools until 1911 when she devoted her time to the extension of her methods to older children. Both professional educators and laymen have taken a deep interest in her work, the principles of which she has set down in ‘Antropologia pedagogica’ (Eng. trans. by F. T. Cooper, ‘Pedagogic Anthropology,’ New York 1913) and ‘Il metodo della pedagogia scientifica applicato all'educazione infantile nelle case dei Bambini’ (Eng. trans. by A. E. George, ‘The Montessori Method,’ New York 1912).