Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) was the first practising woman doctor in Italy.
As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive scrutiny, she realised that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. She also observed the manner in which they learned as they spontaneously chose and worked with the auto didactic materials she provided.
Her approach to education stemmed from a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology . She studied children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world, soon seeing the universality of the laws of human development played out before her.