Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. Her interest in education began when she worked with institutionalized children. She observed mentally challenged children achieve an amazing level of development when an appropriate method of instruction was used along with carefully devised manipulative materials. Some years later she worked with typical children and, in 1907, opened the first “Casa dei Bambin,” or “Children’s Home,” in a slum in San Lorenzo, Italy. Dr. Montessori devoted the rest of her life to careful observation and study of children. Her observations led to the discovery that the environment should be a “help to life,” an aid to child development rather than a hindrance. Dr. Montessori introduced revolutionary concepts such as: the absorbent mind, sensitive periods of development, the importance of repetition, liberty leading to inner discipline, concentration, joy in work, social development and, primarily, the need for the prepared environment. She was instrumental in changing the conditions and treatment of children and has had a tremendous impact on the course of education. For those parents wishing more information about Dr. Montessori and her method, we would be happy to recommend additional reading.