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 and anthropology. She believed strongly in observation of children to determine what helped them develop, grow, and learn. Studying children in all conditions throughout the world, she discovered universal principals underlying the development of all children. Her theories of early childhood development are being born out in neurological research today. The Montessori method, with its unique set of materials, training, and philosophy, is practiced today world-wide.