Dr. Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from medical school in Italy in 1896. She began her work with children as a physician, and later studied education. She believed strongly in the observation of children to determine what helps them develop, grow, and learn. Studying children in all conditions throughout the world, she discovered universal principals underlying the development of all children. The Montessori Method, with its unique set of materials, training, and philosophy, is currently practiced around the world.