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The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

MONTESSORI, MARIA (18701952)

Physician Maria Montessori is recognized as one of the pioneers in the development of early childhood education. She is also credited with promoting a substantial number of important educational reforms that have worked their way over the course of the twentieth century into the mainstream of education. These include the recognition of multiple pathways to learning, the importance of concrete or hands-on learning, the stages of cognitive development in children, and the link between children's emotional development and their ability to learn at an optimal rate. Her ideas about the importance of the first six years of life and the boundless potential of childrenregardless of race, gender, or social classmade a significant contribution to human rights as societies around the world began to re-define the rights and roles of women and children.

Encyclopedia of Education | 2002 | DAVID SELDIN, TIMOTHY