Dr. Maria Montessori was Italy's first female physician. Her work with children led to her discovery that they have a natural drive to learn, and they have a natural rhythm to learning. Given the right environment (including the physical surroundings, other children, and the actions of the adults present) each child is uniquely qualified to teach himself or herself a great deal in a relaxed and positive way.
The Montessori environment allows for an individual approach that is exactly suited to each child. Growth and rate of advancement varies from child to child and with each skill. However, when learning is natural and self-paced, and the child is presented with the proper instruments and direction, he or she can become self motivated and excited about learning. This is what Dr. Maria Montessori believed to be each child's true, untainted nature - what she terms the "normalized child", calm, focused and interested in the world of knowledge around him or her. The Montessori method seeks to develop the whole child, including independence, responsibility and respect for others, as well as a strong academic base.