What is a biography of Maria Montessori, including dates of birth and death, the opening of the first casa, and her time in India?

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Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy and died on May 6, 1952 in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. She completed secondary school at Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti and pursued more advanced technical studies at technical institute Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci graduating in 1890. Next, Montessori continued what was a pioneering direction for a woman, studying medicine at the University of Rome and obtaining her degree as a doctor of medicine in 1896.

She pursued a medical career and from 1896 to 1901 began to work with cognitively impaired children. She not only worked with psychiatrists in the field but also became an advocate for disabled children and argued for various reforms in their treatment. She came to believe that it was important to reform the educational system and that information gained from her work with disabled students could lead to a broader educational reform for all students, especially in her work at the Scuola Magistrale Ortofrenica.

on January 6, 1907, Montessori opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, enrolling approximately 55 students between the ages of two and seven. At the school, she offered not just academic instruction but worked with children on mastering many of the activities of daily living, She innovated in classroom design, using age-appropriate furniture to enhance the learning environment. Games and creative activities were mixed with more traditional academic pursuits. Her work became increasingly influential and schools modeled on her method spread throughout the world.

During World War II, she lived in India where she developed the approach known as "cosmic education" for children aged six to twelve which included detailed study of the natural world. As an Italian citizen, she was restricted to the Theosophical Society compound by the British but continued to pursue her teaching.

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Renowned for her influential work in early childhood education, Maria Montessori was a staunch feminist who was for many years a practicing physician. Born in Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy, she lived from August 31, 1870, to May 6, 1952. After completing secondary school and graduating from a technical institute in 1890, she became the first woman to be admitted to the University of Rome’s medical school. In 1896, she went on to become the first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree.

Montessori’s association with early childhood education began in the late 1890s through her medical treatment of children with cognitive disabilities. Determined to help them learn and achieve successful social integration, she opposed the widespread practice of institutionalization, which was standard at the time. Further practical and theoretical work convinced her that the methods she developed would also benefit children without disabilities. Realizing that poor families had limited opportunities, she aimed to provide early education in poor neighborhoods, beginning in Rome. The new type of nursery school was called a “children’s house,” or in Italian, Casa dei Bambini. The first Casa opened in January 1907. A central feature of her approach was “self education,” building on the children’s abilities to explore the world around them, and offering positive reinforcement.

Montessori’s association with India began in 1913, when an Indian student attended a course in Rome. In 1926, the Montessori Society of India was formed, and several of her works were translated into Hindi and Gujarati. The poet Rabindranath Tagore became a prominent supporter, and several Indian schools were called “Tagore–Montessori” schools. Another aspect of her connection to India was her involvement in theosophy, and her first visit to India included teaching at the Madras Theosophical Society. Arriving in India in 1939, she did not intend to stay long, but World War II gave her a complicated status as an Italian in the British colony. She ended up staying in India until 1946, a period that included teaching in Sri Lanka. After a period in England, she returned to India briefly in 1947.

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