Maria Montessori: A Woman Who Changed the World | Teen Ink

Maria Montessori: A Woman Who Changed the World

October 1, 2013
By OakwoodCat GOLD, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
OakwoodCat GOLD, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
16 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A doctor is no job for a woman!” Maria Montessori must have heard these words hundreds of times, but she was determined, and had a heart for helping others. During the same year that Italy became a free and unified nation, in 1870, one of the world’s greatest educators was born. Throughout her life, she trained thousands of teachers, developed schools, traveled around the world, and many other remarkable things. Maria broke the bars separating women and men’s jobs, proving she could do whatever she set out to do with all her loving heart in it. Maria Montessori has inspired me to dream big, and I think that her teaching methods have lots of good intentions and are beneficial to children’s education. Maria was supported mostly by her mother when it came to education. Her father loved her dearly as well, though he was sad when she decided to continue her education because he thought it was odd and improper for a young woman. Maria overcame many obstacles to become one of the greatest educators in the world.

Maria had an impressive record of schools and grades to support her early work. Maria started school at the age of six, and while her school records were good, there was nothing particularly noteworthy. At the age of thirteen, she entered into an all-boys technical school, Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti, where she studied Italian, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, accounting, history, geography, and sciences. She graduated after three years with good grades. Then, when she was 16, she continued in the technical school studying geometric and ornate drawing, physics, chemistry, botany, and so much more. At first, she was going to pursue engineering upon graduation, but in 1890, when she was 20, she changed her mind, and decided to study medicine, which was very unusual for women at that time. She ignored all who discouraged her, and went on to study medicine at the University of Rome. She graduated six years later, and started her own private practice. On the side, she published many books advocating women's rights, and education for the mentally disabled. As a part of her work, she visited the asylums of Rome, observing and assisting the people there. These observations were very important to her later work with education. In 1900, an Orthophrenic school opened, with Maria as co-director. The school was very successful too! The challenged children soon were passing tests given to ‘normal’ children all around Italy. Her early school and work are amazing accomplishments for women.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” said Maria. “To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” These two quotes really emphasize what Maria believed, that the child should learn through their surroundings, not every child learning the same thing, at the same time, in the same place. She complained that that method of unification had been used in a factory sort of way, as if each child were made the same way. But the Montessori Method helps every child to learn at their own individual pace, and through experiences more than textbooks and math problems. “The child’s progress does not depend only on his age, but also on being free to look around him.” This shows that Maria believed that a child is not limited by his age, but by his ability to listen and learn.

Maria wanted to help children to learn as much as possible., and her methods succeeded all over the world. So when she was offered a chance to work with mentally normal children and to execute her new methods, with over 50 children,and she immediately accepted. Maria’s work at this school was mostly behind the scenes, researching, observing the classes, providing the supplies, and other professional activities with her degree. She made the structure of the school, deciding when, and what the teachers would be teaching and doing with the children. The name of her school was Casa dei Bambini, and the first one was such a success, that another one opened just one year later. The students learned quickly, and their writing and reading levels were ahead for their age. Two years after the second school opened, her methods were accepted in all of Italy and Switzerland. Just six years after she started the first school , they were accepted and used internationally in many different countries. Maria soon became famous, and extremely busy. She traveled to the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France Germany, China, and so many more countries, teaching small classes, while thousands would observe, and promoting and clarifying her ideas. She truly had a heart to help children learn, and nothing would stand in her way.

But one thing finally found a way to stop her, although her works are still used and will continue to be used for many years to come. The one thing that stopped her, was death. She died at the age of 81, in 1952, from a bad case of bleeding in her brain tissue. But she worked right up until the very few months before she died, still being given awards, and teaching and assisting all over the world. But Maria Montessori left a few things behind for us to utilize. First of all, she left her greatest work, a book called The Montessori Method. The Montessori Method is still used today, and with great success. Secondly, she left behind a legacy, a woman who accomplished amazing things. This inspired other women around the world to believe in themselves, and not to be discouraged by their gender. Lastly, she left behind a love for educating. This love has spread to others who support and fulfill the Montessori Method, who share the same dream as Maria. Many have benefitted from what she gave her all to study and research, and she has influenced many by her methods.

Maria herself, and the Montessori Method itself has inspired me in a couple of different ways. She had a couple of character traits that really helped her go far and help others in her life, such as determination, an open mind, the willingness to learn, and lastly, a loving heart that wanted to help others. Her determination was shown, when she didn’t give up, even when strongly discouraged by her father and professors. They told her only men could be engineers, or doctors, but she defeated those boundaries set up for women, and now those boundaries no longer stand. With her open mind, she was willing to think out of the box to find a new way to help kids learn. Her willingness to learn is what drove her to become such an accomplished lady, for she was taught, and then taught others. Her loving heart is what I think shows the most in her curriculum. She truly wanted the best for the kids, and it shows in her works and life. She has inspired me in these ways, and I hope that I can be like her, and do something with my life that will help people.

Maria dreamed big and was successful. She beaome a big influence to the world; and she has made such a huge change in the way some schools educate children. She observed the children, figuring out how they learn best, and developed a way to help them excel. Even until the day she died she had that drive to go farther, help more, and love others. I hope we all can learn from her traits, to have her loving heart, overcome obstacles, have determination, open mind, and willingness to learn, so that we might help people around the world.

The author's comments:
A Biographical Narrative about Maria Montessori, an amazing woman who has inspired my life.

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