Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician and educator best known for developing the Montessori method of education, which aims to foster each child’s natural creative potential and drive to learn by ensuring rich, unstructured environments. Today, there are 22,000 Montessori schools in at least 110 countries.
At 13, Montessori enrolled into an all-boys technical school to study engineering, and then following graduation pursued success in another male-dominated field at the time—medicine. Maria Montessori graduated in 1896, the first woman in Italy with a medical degree.
She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times, and her image was on Italy’s 1,000 Lire banknote.