Once she graduated from medical school she was invited to Berlin to give a conference on why women should be given the same pay as men for doing the same work. At that time, women in factories and and on farms were paid considerably less than men. (Interestingly, equal pay continues to be an issue these days).
Working outdoors on purposeful activities was also encouraged.
The true Montessori philosophy contemplates the emotional and social aspects of education. It fosters peace and understanding at every level.
Dr. Montessori believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a "blank slate" waiting to be written upon.
During World War II Dr Montessori was forced to leave Italy due to her antifascist views. Mussolini closed all Montessori schools. Maria lived in Spain for a couple of years, and then she moved to Holland. In 1947 she undertook a lecture tour in India, which lasted two years. There she developed her work Education for Peace.
Dr. Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times (1949, 1950 and 1951).
Peace education is about developing skills to resolve conflicts peacefully. It provides opportunities and experiences for the children to learn to live in harmony with other people and the environment.
"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education."
Dr. Maria Montessori
Regarding prizes and punishments she said, "The prize and the punishment are incentives toward unnatural or forced effort... the jockey offers a piece of sugar to his horse before jumping into the saddle. The coachman beats his horse that he may respond to the signs given by the reins. And yet, neither of these runs so superbly as the free horse of the plains."
All in all, Maria Montessori believed in the kids' motivation to learn and discover. She was convinced that kids have a world of their own, and that adults should not interfere.
Now, do kids still have that world of their own? Or do we violate it through the images and messages imparted by television screens?
Do we respect kids' vulnerabilities these days? Something to think about.
Maria Montessori liked to tell the story of a little girl who came to a Montessori school for the first time. The little girl asked the first child she met, "Is it true that in this school you're allowed to do what you like?"
"I don't know about that," replied the child, "but I do know that we like what we do."
Maria Montessori. The Italian doctor who revolutionized education for young children. Michael Pollard
Maria Montessori. Her Life and Work. E.M. Standing