Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952)
Dr. Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in the provincial town of Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father was a financial manager for a state-run industry. Her mother, raised in a family that prized education, was well schooled and an avid reader – unusual for Italian women of that time. The same thirst for knowledge took root in young Maria, and she immersed herself in many fields of study before creating the educational method that bears her name.
Dr. Montessori became an Italian physician, educator and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way chldren learn naturally. Her detailed observations of a group of children comitted to her care, led her to design unique learning materials, to train others in her teaching methods, and then to open schools, first in Itaaly in 1907 and then iin numerous other countries.
Dr. Montessori dedicated herself to advancing her child-centered approach to education. She lectured widely, wrote articles and books, and developed a program to prepare teachers in the Montessori method. As a public figure, Maria also campaigned vigorously on behalf of women’s rights. She wrote and spoke frequently on the need for greater opportunities for women, and was recognized in Italy and beyond as a leading feminist voice.
Maria Montessori perused her ideals in turbulent times. Living through the war and political upheaval inspired her to add peace education to the Montessori curriculum. But she could do little to avoid being ensnared in world events. Traveling in India in 1940, when hostilities between Italy and Great Britain broke out, she was forced to live in exile for the remainder of the war. There she took the opportunity to train teachers in her method. At war’s end she returned to Europe, spending her final years in Amsterdam. She died peacefully in a friends garden, on May 6, 1952.
Allegro Montessori School was founded by four families in the fall of 1987 to serve a small group of Montessori-trained elementary-age children. The first teacher/director of the school, Ursula Hodgson, guided Allegro through a most successful initial year at its first location, Bethlehem Lutheran Church of the Deaf. In 1988, Margaret Hurst joined the staff and became director of the first preschool classroom.
By December 1995, office staff had been hired and enrollment stood close to 90 students with 10 staff members. At this time the Separate School Board graciously offered us the use of St. Patrick’s school. During the 5 1/2 years there the school continued to thrive and grow, until September 2000, when Allegro Montessori moved to Spadina Crescent. This downtown location, while easily accessible, was not ideal so we moved to 2410 Haultain and for the next 5 years we grew in numbers and enjoyed 5 exciting years of learning.
In June of 2007 our lease expired but the Public School Board has accommodated us at Roland Michener School in the East College Park area. The staff here has been so welcoming, the classrooms are bright and spacious and the gym and playgrounds are well equipped. We look forward to many years in this location.