Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name. (Wikipedia)
Born: August 31, 1870, Chiaravalle and Died: May 6, 1952, Noordwijk
Books: The Montessori method

From being rather obscure and elitist, the method has now been widely adopted and there are now well over five thousand Montessori schools in North America, one thousand schools in the United Kingdom and several more thousand throughout the world. (extract from The Montessori Method)