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Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was one of the first women to qualify as a medical doctor in unified Italy. As a result of her work in the medical field, she became concerned about the young child and began her life long study and observation of children (recording their behaviours, needs and interests).
In 1898, as a result of her interest in the works of pioneers in special education for the mentally challenged, Dr. Montessori became director of the State Orthophrenic School, where she achieved a degree of success with children whom most people thought impossible to teach. From there she opened a small school in the slums of Rome, where she improved literacy among the disadvantaged youth to such a great extent that governments and educators from around the world began requesting her help in setting up Montessori schools in their country.
Within only a few years, she had established important schools in India, Europe and North America, and had become an internationally recognized educator.
Her scientific study lead to the development of a child centred approached to education. Her philosophy of education is based on the developmental stages of the child. Maria Montessori designed a prepared environment and educational apparatus to meet the corresponding progressive needs of the developing child.