MARIA MONTESSORI (Italy, 1870 - Holland, 1952).
Physician and educationist, born in Rome, Italy. She studied at Rome, where she was the first woman in Italy to graduate in medicine. Later, she joined the psychiatric clinic, and became interested in the problems of mentally handicapped children. She opened her first 'children's house' in 1907, developing a system of education for children of three to six, based on freedom of movement, the provision of considerable choice for pupils, and the use of specially designed activities and equipment. Montessori schools were also later developed for older children throughout the world.
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