“How can we speak of Democracy or Freedom when from the very beginning of life we mould the child to undergo tyranny, to obey a dictator? How can we expect democracy when we have reared slaves? Real freedom begins at the beginning of life, not at the adult stage.”

– Maria Montessori – 1946

Born in 1870 in Italy, Maria Montessori was not only one of the first female Italian physicians but also the first woman in the world to work tirelessly for the education of children. A symbol of women empowerment, Maria Montessori, broke cultural norms to study engineering at an all-boys college at the age of 13. After graduation, she took another bold step to study medicine since women’s education was not encouraged in those days. She then worked for years on understanding children’s mental ability and psyche and opened up the first “Case di Bambini” or “Children’s house” in Italy in 1907. Her thoroughly researched curriculum revolutionised the world of instructing children and became popular by her name “Montessori”. It was embracedglobally and is practiced in schools even today. Her curriculum included teaching children about personal care such as handwashing, taking care of pets and the environment as well as physical exercises. She introduced child-sized furniture for the comfort of children and experimented with teaching methods that quickly caught the eye of the public figures and educators. The success of the first school led to the opening of three further Case di Bambini in Italy which multiplied her recognition in Italy and abroad.Her works were published in the US in 1911 and 1912. What Maria believed and endorsed centuries ago, appears to have become lost somewhere amidst the profit-making educational institutions in Pakistan. Montessori teaching methods are better adopted in private institutions that charge high fees unaffordable by the majority whereas Maria began teaching to children of poorer families. Due to low salaries, the dearth of well-qualified teachers has also put a strain on the education system in Pakistan that needs to be altered for a better “education of the senses”, as Montessori is quoted to have said.