Dr. Maria Montessori was born in the small town of Chiaravelle, Italy. She graduated from the University of Rome Medical School in 1896 and became the first female physician in her country. Her interest in practicing general medicine soon waned and she began to ask larger questions about life and compassion, and her focus shifted toward the problems and needs of what at that time were called “retarded” children. People often miss, however, the significance of her medical background.
At the age of 29, Dr. Montessori became the first director of Casa Dei Bambini (“Home for Children”) and through years of close scientific observations and experimentations she developed her method while working with poor and mentally challenged children. The special educational materials that she created helped these children to learn and pass state educational examinations. Once Dr. Montessori saw how well these educational materials and methods worked with developmentally delayed children, she decided to apply these to all children