Italian physician Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman ever to graduate with a medical degree from the University of Rome, began observing children in her role as a doctor. It wasn’t until the first part of the 20th century, after many years of studying children, that she developed an innovative educational model based on her observations. At its core, Dr. Montessori’s model is based on the premise that education is a natural process, that children WANT to learn and that all humans possess an innate desire to interact with the world around them leading to greater understanding and knowledge. This revolutionary notion of development was further supported by the findings of famous child psychologists including Erik Erickson and Jean Piaget. Dr. Montessori believed that if children were placed in a learning environment filled with developmentally appropriate materials designed to stimulate logical thought and discovery through concrete exploration, that the result would be children who were confident, self-motivated, independent, joyful learners.
The success of the educational model designed by Dr. Maria Montessori is illustrated by the people who have been educated through Montessori schools. Some famous alumni include: T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author; Jeff Bezos, financial analyst and founder of Amazon.com; Anne Frank, famous diarist; Julia Child, famous chef, television personality, and author; Princes William and Harry, English royal family; Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, editor and former First Lady; Katherine Graham, owner and editor of the Washington Post; and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature.