"The education of a young child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life."– Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. In her work at the University of Rome’s psychiatric clinic, Dr. Montessori developed an interest in the treatment of children and for several years wrote and spoke on their behalf.
At the age of 28, she became the director of a school for mentally disabled children. After two years under her guidance, these children, who formerly had been considered uneducable, took a school examination along with normal children and passed successfully. If mentally disabled children could be brought to the level of normal children, Dr. Montessori wanted to study the potential of “normal” children. Dr. Montessori studied anthropology and psychology and finally, in 1907, was asked to take charge of fifty children from the desolate streets of the San Lorenzo slum in the city of Rome. The first Casa del Bambini (Children’s House) was opened.
Dr. Montessori developed the Montessori materials to aid sense perception when working with mentally handicapped children. Those children who were older had to be encouraged before their interest was aroused. Once enticed to use the materials, their attention was fixed. She was surprised to see that the little ones were intensely attracted by the materials, working spontaneously and repeatedly with them in total concentration.
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