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Maria Montessori
The rebirth of a legend

Around 100 years ago Maria Montessori became Italy's first women doctor of medicine.
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But she did much more. She started a sensory-based learning method that is now playing a major part in what many are calling "the learning revolution".

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Working with so-called "mental defectives" in Italy, Maria Montessori taught them to read, write, spell and count well before starting school.

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But even more importantly, she discovered a lasting truth: if you create the right environment for learning, every very young children will explode into self-directed learning. And in doing so they will discover the joy of learning and fulfillment. And they will go on teaching themselves throughout life.

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Montessori built on the research of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the 18th century philosopher, who proposed that the key to learning lies with developing each child's senses, starting with concrete experiences.

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This movement flowered into prominence as 19th century innovators linked sensory and early-childhood learning. Jean-Marc-Gaspart Iratd, Edouard Seguin, Johann Pestallozi and Friedrich Froebel led this movement, and Montessori was their natural successor.

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She put many of their theories into practice to show that the years from birth to six are the most vital of all.

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The authors of the world's current best-selling book, The Learning Revolution, come to similar conclusions. But co-authors Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette Vos conclude from all the research that the best early-childhood development programs combine the best from Montessori and the best from many other methods.

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In the detailed chapter of their book called The vital years from birth to ten, they record the world's best examples of how these methods are coming together with spectacular results: in countries and states as diverse as Sweden, New Zealand, Montana and California.


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The Learning Revolution - Montessori

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