Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy. She was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. As part of her training, she visited an orphanage and began to develop her method of education among the children. Her interest in their learning eventually lead her to receive a degree in education. Dr. Montessori later developed materials and equipment for teaching, making sure each item contributed to the development of the child. Dr. Montessori saw the success of the materials and her teaching ideas and was encouraged to train others to use the materials and methods.
A Montessori school to train Montessori educators was developed in Rome, Italy. Eventually many schools were started across Italy and other countries of Europe. Anne Frank was pictured in a National Geographic learning in a Montessori classroom in Germany before the start of World War II. Schools were developed in Asian countries as well. By the early 1950's, Dr. Montessori was invited to visit the United States and share her ideas of the Montessori method of teaching. Now there are approximately 10,000 Montessori schools across the United States as well as many Montessori training institutes for teachers. Most are preschool programs but some schools graduate children through the 12th grade. Public schools have integrated the method into the magnet school programs.
Dr. Montessori felt that the goal of childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts but rather cultivate his own natural desires to learn. This desire to learn would best be created within the prepared environment. This is Dr. Montessori's philosophy of education for teaching all children through out the educational years.