Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 5, No. 3---July 2007 ISSN: 1541-6224


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In 1870, during the same year that Italy became a unified, free nation, one of the world's greatest educators, rv1aria Nlontessori. was born in Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona. Her father, Alessandro l\1ontessori, was a successful government official and a member of the bourgeois civil service. Her mother, Renide Stoppani, was a well educated, wealthy woman devoted to liberation and unity of Italy. When Maria was about twelve years old, her parents moved to Rome to give their only child a better education than Ancona could offer. The family's move from the more provincial town of Ancona to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan Rome enabled Maria the opportunities to use libraries and visit museums. Maria Montessori began studies in engineering at the Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buovarroti. From this experience she began to model in her mind what a school should not be like. She also made the decision not to continue studies in engineering and would instead go on to study medicine, only to become Italy's first female doctor.