Maria Montessori was born on 31. August 1870. She was the first Lady in Roma with the diploma for medicine.
A good co-worker Mrs. Anna Maccheroni writes:
(Maria Montessori “a centenary anthology page 9 – 10)
“On the completion of her training Dr. Montessori did two years hospital work, taking nervous and mental diseases as her special subject. It was in the course of this work that she came in contact with mentally defective children. In the room where they were there were benches for them to sit on – nothing else, nothing for them to handle or play with. The woman who looked after them told Dr. Montessori they were greedy and dirty. ‘In what way?’ said Dr. Montessori. ‘Well, after meals they throw themselves on the floor to pick up the crumbs of bread, which they put in their mouth.’ Dr. Montessori looked round. There was nothing, absolutely nothing for the children to handle. As for putting crumbs in their mouths, such an action is almost instinctive in young children, and particularly in mental defectives.”
To help these abandoned children Dr. Montessori went to Paris and visited the Bourneville Institute. She studied the works of Itard and Seguin. She returned to the children and spent with them long hours every day. Her success is well known. She presented the children for examination along with the children of the elementary Country Council School in Rome, and they did better in the examination than these normal children. This was such a wonderful thing that people said, ‘You performed a miracle.’ But she herself was looking at the ‘miracle’ from the other side. The question she was asking herself was, ‘How could one keep healthy, normal children on a lower level than mentally defective ones?”