More than one hundred years ago a young Italian woman devised a new approach to education based on a foundation of encouragement and respect. Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy. Despite many obastacles, she was the first Italian woman to become a physician. She went on to teach at the medical school of the University of Rome, and, through its free clinics, came into frequent contact with the children of the poor. Through her work she became convinced that all children are born with an amazing human potential, which can develop only if adults provide them with the right stimulation during the first few years of life.
The first children's house received instant acclaim, and interest surged around the world. As an internationally respected scientist, Montessori had a rare credibility and she captured the interest of national leaders and scientists, labor leaders and factory owners, teachers, and monthers. She gave up her medical practice to devote her energy to overseeing the spread of Montessori schools around the worlds. A tireless advocate for the rights and intellectual potential of all children, she continued her research until her death in 1952.