Segments in this Video

Story of Struggle (02:35)


One of the first female doctors in Europe and a pioneer in children's education, Maria Montessori overcame sexism and oppression and changed both the world of children's education and the world at large. She was born on the east coast of Italy in 1870.

Family Clashes (02:46)

Roman schools taught young women domestic skills, preparing them for lives as mothers and perhaps teachers. Montessori rejected this, interested in math and science.

Impertinent Woman (03:16)

At age 20, Montessori began studying medicine at the University of Rome. Women were not welcome in universities at that time; she had to be escorted to her classes by her father and her classmates were intentionally rude.

Prophetic Moment (02:05)

Montessori saw a child on the street that was focused on a task despite being poverty-stricken and had a revelation regarding children's education. She stood up against the male students and graduated as the first female doctor of medicine, becoming one of the first female doctors in Italy.

Vice Secretary of Suffrage Group (03:03)

Women's rights became Montessori's focus as the suffragette movement gained force. Montessori spoke out in favor of women's rights.

Condemned to Misery (03:10)

In Italy, Montessori worked in psychiatry and visited children in insane asylums. Montessori became co-director of a school that focused on the education of mentally disabled children; she felt they had hidden potential.

Risking Social Condemnation (02:57)

Through Montessori's education, mentally disabled children earned higher marks than the national average, making her aghast at the faults in general education. In 1901, Montessori left the school to pursue other educational endeavors and engaged in a romance with co-director Giuseppe Ferruccio Montesano.

Never Forgiven (02:27)

Montessori could not keep the child she had, instead sending it to live in the countryside with a family and visiting him occasionally. Montesano betrayed Montessori by marrying someone else. She became a professor of anthropology.

Children's House (03:05)

Montessori took a project overseeing poor children, using her later studies in her work. She used innovative ideas and applied science to provide children with materials that engaged them.

Learning to Read (02:49)

Montessori taught children simple things that allowed them to be neater and cleaner. She avoided rewards and punishments in favor of allowing the children to find their own rewards.

Enormous Notoriety (02:47)

In 1912, Montessori's mother died and she became reunited with her son. Her book was translated into English and the book was shared throughout the world.

Peace and Humanity (02:00)

In 1914, war took over Europe. Montessori schools were established for the orphans created by the war and Montessori continued traveling.

Marriage of Convenience (03:28)

Benito Mussolini came to power and endorsed the Montessori movement intending to use it to create a nation of disciplined fascists. Montessori refused to swear allegiance to fascism and left Italy permanently.

Greatest Lessons (02:51)

In 1931, Montessori met Mahatma Gandhi in London and forged a friendship. He spoke at one of her teaching centers. Hitler's reign began in 1933.

Training Montessori Teachers (03:11)

When Mussolini engaged in war, Montessori and her son were classified as illegal aliens in India. He was taken to an internment camp but she was able to spend the years she was stranded there traveling and teaching.

Active and Exploratory Learners (03:32)

At age 75, Montessori worked to re-establish Montessori schools. Countless creative and innovative figures have benefited from Montessori schooling including George Clooney and the founders of Google.

Intellectual Giant (01:42)

Montessori was awarded several prizes across the globe and campaigned for world peace. She was greatly esteemed by world leaders.

Credits: Maria Montessori: Extraordinary Women (00:48)

Credits: Maria Montessori: Extraordinary Women

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Maria Montessori: Extraordinary Women

Part of the Series : Extraordinary Women
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In this film, learn how Italian-born doctor, educator, and humanitarian Maria Montessori revolutionized children’s education worldwide in the 20th century during times of war, fascism, and oppression. Boldly breaking through gender barriers and fighting for her own education as a young adult, Montessori became a woman's rights activist and a friend of Mahatma Gandhi's. By the end of her long life, Montessori was greatly esteemed across the globe and the creator of an education style that continues to change the lives of children and adults today. 

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL95093

ISBN: 978-1-63521-221-1

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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