History Crush - Maria Montessori

The Life Events of Maria Montessori

Main Life Events

Flaherty, T. "Maria Montessori (1870–1952)". Women's Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society. Retrieved 15 June 2014.

(2010, Oct 5). Dr. Maria Montessori's Time Line. Retrieved from http://www.montessorieducationuk.org/?q=who-was-maria-montessori/maria-montessoris-time-line/maria-montessori-time-line

Maria Montessori born in Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy.


Maria Montessori is born to Alessandro Montessori and Renilde Stoppani in 1870. Her parents are very active in the government and the spread of ideas. For example Alessandro, owner of an attractive mustache, was an official of the Ministry of Finance. Plus, Renilde was a feminist who Maria got her spitfire from. She would often persuade her husband to allow the continuation of Maria's Education.

Technical School

Approx. 1883 - 1890

Maria first desires become an engineer and convinces her father to allow her to go to Technical School. During this time period it was almost unheard of for a woman to continue her education past elementary especially in the sciences. Yet not only does she gain a certificate in Physics-Mathematics, she decides it isn't enough.

Medical School

1892 - 1896

At the University of Rome, Maria works hard to gain a Medical Degree. She becomes one of the first female doctors despite prejudice and sexism during her classes. Her fame begins with speaking in Berlin at a women's conference.

Maria also gets a respectful position as a surgical assistant at the Santo Spirito Hospital, Rome.

Work with Disabled Children

1897 - 1899

Maria begins to study and work with children that have mental retardation, illnesses and disabilities. She speaks at a conference about children with learning difficulties in Turin and joins the National League for the Education of Retarded Children. She also becomes director of the State Orthophrenic School in Rome where she begins putting together her method.

Educational Research including the work of Vittorino da Feltre

1901 - 1906

Maria furthers her studies to adapt her method for the public. Her research includes many theorists such as Vittorino da Feltre.

Vittorino de Feltre (1378 – 1446):
Vittorino believed in teaching all children. He would treat children from nobility and poverty equally. Also he stressed building close relationships with the child and adapting lessons to their needs. His schools had a large reputation such as “The House of Joy” and "School of Princes."

Cole, Luella (1962). A History of Education: Socrates to Montessori. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Maria gives birth to Mario Montessori


Maria falls in love with the co-director of the Orthophrenic School and they have a son. However, the two do not marry for career and family reasons. Adding insult to injury, Maria's lover marries another woman and heartbroken Maria leaves her school to go back to University for teaching.

The First Children's House Opens


The Casa dei Bambini is opened in the slums of San Lorenzo. Maria uses the house as a labratory to develop her method to include those who are not disabled. Her success is profound.

"The Montessori Method" is published


Visits to the United States

1913 - 1915

Maria tours the United States twice, once in 1913 and then lastly in 1915. Her method explodes in popularity, yet Maria worries about the integrity of her method being lost and returns to Italy.

Mussolini rises to power in Italy

1922 - 1934

Benito Mussolini creates a fascist regime in Italy. His government agrees to have political support for Montessori schools and opens up several in Italy. Mussolini and Maria use each other for convenience until Maria leaves Italy for Spain in 1934. Then systematically her schools are shut down in her homeland.

World War II and stranded in India

1939 - 1946

War breaks out causing Maria and her son Mario to flee to India. There they unfortunately become enemy aliens when Italy joined the Axis Powers and were placed under house arrest...in a beautiful secluded part of India. Within the seven years Maria continues and refines her work.

"The Absorbent Mind" is published


Noble Peace Prize Nominee

1949 - 1951

Maria is nominated for the Noble Peace Prize three years in a row. The first for her book "The Absorbent Mind," the second for speaking at a UN Education conference about 'The International Year of the Child' and the third for her multiple training courses.

Maria Montessori dies at 81


Maria spends her last moments in her friend's garden. She is not buried in Italy but in the Netherlands at Noordwijk.