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10 Facts You Need to Know About Maria Montessori

10 Facts You Need to Know About Maria Montessori

Not only Maria Montessori's methodology but also her life path, arouses interest, as she was a woman who introduced ideas that no one had recognized before her. We have collected for you 10 interesting facts about Maria Montessori, related to her life, methodology, and revolutionary ideas that changed the perception of childhood and education.

Maria Montessori was nominated three times (in 1949, 1950, and 1951) for the Nobel Peace Prize

She never received the award, but even this fact speaks to how highly her contemporaries valued the scientist's contribution to the development of a healthy society. Another episode from her biography is among the interesting facts about Maria Montessori. She was the first woman to speak out about the importance of giving women the right to vote. Drawing on her own experience, she urged women to register on electoral lists, as there was no direct prohibition, only a social norm not documented. By taking advantage of the fact that nowhere in the law was it written that women were forbidden to study at the university, Maria Montessori became a student at the University of Rome. Her call was mainly answered by educators. Most women were still not allowed to participate in the electoral process, but some cities did allow women to vote, setting a precedent and becoming the basis for further positive changes regarding the granting of equal rights to women and men.

Montessori's ideas are not only suitable for infants or children with special needs

Individualization and active learning can be applied at any stage of life. In her books, such as "Self-Assertion in Childhood," "Education and Peace," and "The Method of Development in Primary School," Montessori discusses the principles of her method and their application not only for younger children but also for older children. She taught how to create a stimulating learning environment that promotes self-development and self-improvement, as well as how to stimulate interest in learning and maintain internal motivation. Her methods promoted critical thinking, creativity, and self-realization in students and older children.

In practice, Montessori also worked with ordinary children who did not have special needs. She believed that her methods allowed every child to unfold their potential and develop their abilities. Therefore, Montessori's principles of teaching and development are universal.

One of the key ideas of Montessori's philosophy is to set a good example for kids

She repeatedly said, "Children learn by watching us, not listening to us. We can advise children on how to be, but the best way to educate is to live honestly and responsibly in front of them."

Absorbent Mind – a concept that has turned into an educational system

The “Absorbent Mind” concept in Maria Montessori's pedagogy explains the uniqueness and power of the child's mind in early childhood, especially up to the age of 6. According to this concept, the child's mind at this age works like a sponge that absorbs knowledge and impressions from the environment effortlessly. Montessori believed that during this period, the child acquires the greatest sensitivity and capacity for learning about the world. 

She observed that the kid’s mind at this age is very receptive to impressions and information that come through experience and observation. The main feature of the “Absorbent Mind” is Self-education: The child learns directly from the surrounding environment, deepening knowledge through observation, experiments, and interaction with objects. Natural learning: At this age, the child is naturally disposed to explore the world around them, actively absorbing information without conscious effort. Great potential: Montessori believed that this period in a child's life has the greatest learning potential, and the appropriate environment can maximize these abilities. Thus, the “Absorbent Mind” concept reflects the unique ability of the child's mind to perceive and assimilate knowledge from the surrounding environment, forming the basis of Maria Montessori's pedagogical approach.

Against physical violence in education

 Among the facts about Maria Montessori, it is impossible not to mention her struggle for a humane attitude towards children. In a society accustomed to punishing disobedience, the idea that “Love and respect are the two most powerful weapons for educating a child.” sounded alien. But Maria stubbornly continued to assert: that kids cannot be beaten. Love and care work much better in the education system!

The desire to allow a child to learn at their own pace became revolutionary

Initially, she observed children and discovered that each of them has their own developmental rhythm. Some children grasp new knowledge more quickly, while others need more time. She believed that forcing all children to learn at the same level could be unfair and even harmful to their learning process.

Montessori believed in the power of individualized learning

When a child learns at their own pace, they can better absorb material and develop self-regulation skills. This helps children remain interested and motivated in learning.

This approach of Montessori emerged from her observations and research on child development. She believed that each child is a unique individual who should have the opportunity to choose the pace of their own learning.

The biggest lie is, “Maria abandoned her son.”

The biggest myth worth debunking about Maria Montessori is her relationship with her son, Mario. To this day, various sources claim that the greatest Italian educator did not verify her findings in her own motherhood system; she is called a "mother lark," and her relationship with her son is told as compromising her entire career. But what was the truth?

Maria studied well and wanted to become a doctor. She had to pave the way to her dream in a completely patriarchal society at that time. She was the only girl in the medical faculty at the University of Rome. At the age of 28, she became the director of a specialized school for children with developmental disabilities. At that time, the school was managed by Giuseppe Montesano, Maria's colleague. They became close, and in this relationship, Maria gave birth to her only son, Mario. However, Giuseppe was in no hurry to marry: his parents were against such a wife as Maria, as they were looking for a partner for their son from a noble and wealthy family. Although Maria also came from an aristocratic family, she was not equal to Giuseppe.

Nevertheless, for her, the birth of a child meant the end of her career. She made a difficult decision — she gave her son up for adoption. But she continued to visit him, although she did not reveal the truth about herself. She could only do this after the death of her own mother: this conversation became decisive, and since then, mother and son have become inseparable. They began to work together on a new teaching system, and after Maria's death, Mario continued her work.

Maria Montessori's image and her schools can be seen on some coins

The popularity of the method in Italy and other countries is reflected in the fact that the image of Maria Montessori's schools and herself appeared on the commemorative coin with a face value of 200 lire in 1980. The coin was minted with a circulation of 48.5 million pieces. Similar images appeared on stamps from the Netherlands, India, Italy, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The International Montessori Association was established in 1929 and still operates

Another interesting fact about Maria Montessori — IMA (International Montessori Association) brings together educators, parents, caregivers, and other interested parties who share Montessori's ideas and methodology. The main goal of the International Montessori Association is to promote the spread and popularization of the Montessori method in education worldwide.

The main tasks of the IMA

The association supports the development and implementation of the Montessori method in various countries, providing consultation, educational materials, and support.

  • IMA organizes conferences, seminars, and workshops for exchanging experiences and transferring new knowledge in the field of the Montessori method.
  • It is engaged in the certification of Montessori educators, developing professional training standards, and providing opportunities for professional development.
  • The Association actively promotes Montessori ideas in public and educational institutions, contributing to the recognition and development of the method.

These are just a few facts about Maria Montessori because she is a woman who can be talked about a lot: both about her example and about the tremendous impact her ideas still have. Society has not yet adapted to all of them, although the system has been around for over 100 years! However, interest in the method remains unabated, and this is a good sign.



Who was Maria Montessori?


Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, known for developing the Montessori method of education. Born in 1870, she was one of the first female doctors in Italy and dedicated her life to studying child development and revolutionizing education.

What is the Montessori method?


The Montessori method is an educational approach that emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a kid’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. It focuses on creating an environment where children can learn at their own pace through hands-on activities and exploration.

How did Maria Montessori impact education?


Maria Montessori's influence on education has been profound. Through her observations and research, she developed a holistic approach to learning that emphasizes the importance of individualized education, respect for the child, and the creation of a prepared environment conducive to learning.

What are some key principles of Montessori education?


Montessori education emphasizes self-directed learning, mixed-age classrooms, uninterrupted work periods, and the use of specially designed materials. It encourages kids to develop critical thinking skills, independence, and a lifelong love of learning.