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Inspired by the liturgical practices of her strong Catholic faith, Dr. Maria Montessori (the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School) began to develop a new educational methodology early in the 20th century in her native Italy. She recognized the capabilities of the very young child to ‘absorb culture’, to learn through sensory perception and to concentrate for reasonable periods of time. Most notably, her work centred on the vital importance of two elements: the child’s environment and the training of the teacher, whom she called ‘the directress’.