Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome medical school. She became interested in education through her work as a doctor. Montessori opened the first Casa Dei Bambini in January 1907 in the slums of Rome. Through observing children she designed an environment where children were given the opportunity to choose materials prepared to reflect the culture and learning experiences appropriate to them. Montessori believed that children are born with an inner drive for independence. She described this force, called “horme” as “a vital force active within him which guides his efforts towards a goal”.
The Montessori curriculum is divided into six areas: Activities for Everyday Living (AEL); Sensorial; Numeracy; Literacy; Knowledge and Understanding of the World and Creativity. These areas of learning are planned for in both the indoor and outdoor environment.