The Montessori Method
Dr. Maria Montessori went to medical school in the late 1800s as one of the first female physicians in Italy. As a medical doctor, she was interested in the pathology of disease and the process of (or deviations from) normal human development. She opened a school for children with special needs and with her methods was astonished that they scored on par (some even better) than the children at conventional schools. While she was given accolades for teaching children who were considered 'unteachable' at the time, she questioned the conventional learning environment. She posited that children could better reach their potential if they were given both an environment that matched their development and an adult trained to understand that development to guide them in their learning.
Dr. Montessori spent her career designing (and testing) prepared learning environments that are optimal in supporting the development of the child at each developmental phase. Dr. Montessori's prepared learning environments span from birth through adolescence and have been recognized as supporting the whole child in their cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development and independence.