Education and Montessori

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The Educational Theory of Maria Montessori
Analysts: 
Adam Cooney
Samantha Jones| |
RETURN 
edited 8/18/11
Introduction
Maria Montessori left a long lasting mark on education around the world. She is regarded as one of the most famous and accomplished educators of her time. Her philosophies and techniques are studied and utilized in universities and schools today. Her life is a story of remarkable perseverance and achievement. Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy on August 31, 1870. She was the daughter of Allessandro Montessori and Renilde Stoppani. She was described as a precocious little girl, who was always pushing the limits of society. Her parents were both educated, but she grew up in a traditional Italian society where woman were expected to be the central force of the family as wives and mothers. Montessori pushed the limits by deciding to study engineering which was predominantly a male profession at the time. At the age of thirteen Montessori joined a technically school where she was one of two women in attendance. Although she was required to spend recess in a separate room from the men to shield her from torment she was motivated to continue her education and attended the Leonardo da Vinci Technical Institute for high school. She graduated in 1890. (Povell, 2007) After high school, Montessori was still trying to push the societal limits and she attempted to enroll into medical school. At first her application was denied because of her lack of knowledge in the classical languages. She spent the subsequent two years taking her prerequisite courses and in 1892 she was admitted to the University of Rome Medical School and graduated and became the first woman in Italy to be awarded a Medical Degree. While in medical school, Montessori found herself drawn towards the pathology of “degenerate” child. She worked in the pediatric ambulatory clinic and the psychiatric clinic throughout medical school and continued after graduation. Montessori realized the connection between psychology, science and the education world and began to speak out at conferences about the subject. She studied the needs of special education children and began to establish methods of teaching the so called ‘degenerate’ children in society (Povell, 2007). Maria Montessori was a major influence on the woman’s movement in Italy. She believed in the concept of the “new woman”. She lectured about the “new woman” and urged woman to take a leading roles in educational reform. She was an example of the “new woman” and she used that distinction to motivate woman to fight for their rights and earn the distinction as an equal gender. (Hainstock, 1997) As a medical doctor, Montessori studied neurology, specializing in mental illness. She later studied psychology and anthropology, specializing in child development. This wide base of knowledge allowed her to examine problems and research from a wide range of perspectives. Following her success in the medical field, Montessori opened a school and developed an educational philosophy which centered around the natural development of children in controlled environments. The school and its innovative yet controversial approach was widely successful. Despite her success Montessori was exiled from Italy by Musilini because she refused to educate children the traditional Italian way. She moved to Spain and then the Netherlands. Montessori died in the Netherlands in 1952, but not before she was nominated for the Nobel Prize three times. Her name and philosophy lives on in hundreds of schools across the world. (Povell, 2007) Theory of Value

What knowledge and skills are worthwhile learning? What are the goals of education? Maria Montessori established much of her theories on education based on the works of the scholar Froebel, and the physicians Jean Itard and Edouard Sequin which inspired her theories of sensory education for early childhood education. Froebel, Itard, and Sequin allowed Montessori...
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