Maria Montessori

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Philosopher Term Paper

One of the most influential philosophers in the history of education is Italian born Dr. Maria Montessori. Her innovative classroom conception and specialized, natural flowing educational design were unique for her time period. Maria Montessori’s background assisted in shaping her personal philosophy of education, which is still widely applicable in schools today.

Maria Montessori was born in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy on August 31, 1870 (“A Biography of Dr. Maria Montessori”). Her father was Alessandro Montessori, an accountant; her mother Renilde Stoppani, was a well-educated housewife. “At age thirteen, against the wishes of her father but with the support of her mother, Maria began to attend a boys' technical school” (“The International Montessori Index”). Maria was the only female at the school and was even separated from the boys at recess. After finishing at the technical school for engineering, she began a premed program and, in 1896 became a physician. Montessori became the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree and one of only a few women in the world to gain that honor during this time period. In 1898, she had a son Mario, with Guisseppe Montesano. The two were never married, so a family friend that lived in the countryside near Rome instead cared for the child. Maria visited her son often, but did not grow close to him until his adult years ("Maria Montessori"). Her estrangement from her son made her choice to work in education intriguing. Perhaps her thoughts were that a school environment could help to raise a child even more than a family could contribute to the child’s growth and development.

Montessori worked at a psychiatric clinic in a Roman hospital, and became interested in working with children with special needs. “In 1907, she was put in charge of teaching fifty poor children of the dirty, desolate streets of the San Lorenzo slum on the outskirts of Rome” (“The International Montessori...
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