In 1896 Dr. Maria Montessori was the first woman physician to graduate from the University of Rome. In 1907 she was asked to direct a center in Italy and it was here that she discovered her method. Based on her scientific observations of children's behavior she created "The Montessori Method."
Dr. Montessori believed that others do not educate children. Rather, one must educate oneself. She understood that children cannot help but learn because children are thinking beings. Simply by living, children learn from their environment. Therefore, Dr. Montessori developed an environment where children would be independent and freedom would be the essential characteristic.
Dr. Montessori believed that children who are actively involved in a prepared environment and exercising freedom of choice literally educate themselves. Therefore the role freedom plays in self-education is crucial. Respect for the child is the cornerstone on which all other principles rest. Montessori describes her philosophy in three words: follow the child.
Montessori education provides orderliness, independence, self-directional learning, a calm environment, and a place where children are at the center of the learning process.