MONTESSORI, Maria, Italian physician and educator, 1870-1952. The first woman to attend the University of Rome, and also the first woman to get a medical degree in Italy. Maria had some psychiatric interests in children, and invented various devices as teaching aids for the young. These devices revolutionised education (a sandpaper alphabet, etc). After becoming the Inspector of Schools in Italy, her methods came into use in other parts of Europe. The basis of her system was instructive play and for each child to proceed at the individuals own natural speed, her first ‘children’s house’ had opened in 1907 (for 3-6 year olds). Later she catered for older children too. The first emphasis had been on hopeless or retarded children, later her methods were applied to all children. She fled Fascist Italy in 1934 and taught in Spain and Asia.
Physician Educator Inventor
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