This blog post is continued from the previous Adobe Montessori blog entitled “Maria Montessori: Her Birth, Childhood, and Education”:
…Upon graduating from the University of Rome, she became an academic by profession. The bulk of her post-graduate work was comprised of being tasked with the studying of children in their early developmental stages, particularly for kids with special needs. She spent time in schools that predominantly housed under-performing children, and through her observation and research, quickly became a leading expert on the subject of special education psychiatry.
Soon after, she was asked to participate in the management of a training center for local special education teachers. This became a crucial time period in the development of her theories, in that she was given permission to run academic studies with the children, and try out new methodologies of instruction (most of which she had discovered and coined almost exclusively). The results of her efforts yielded massive improvements, catching the eyes and ears of higher-ranked academics, and directly challenging many of the constructs of early childhood education previously posited.
Dr. Montessori, in the wake of her newly-found success, was issued a particularly hard assignment to start an inner city childcare center with the San Lorenzo neighborhood, one of the poorest in Rome. Rumored to have been given the outlandish assignment with the intent of superiors to derail her career, again target for being a female academic, Maria founded Children’s House, known historically as the first Italian Casa del Bambini.
The rumor was later confirmed, as male colleagues and administrators began speaking out as to why females had no place as academic scientists, medical physicians, and especially business administrators. Hoping her failure would prove their point, her detractors were soon disappointed and frustrated as her Casa del Bambini took some of the most underprivileged children of Rome, and yielded significantly higher levels of intelligence, independence, and autonomy.
The next part of her story continues in the next Adobe Montessori blog, entitled “Maria Montessori: Her Legacy”