Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician and educator. She dedicated many years to scientific observation of children and adolescents around the world. This led her to create a pedagogy as an aid to life according to the laws of natural development. She observed human development to follow four different planes, ages birth to six, six to twelve, twelve to eighteen, and eighteen to twenty-four years. She designed a plan of education for each plane of development.
For the third plane, ages twelve to eighteen, she identified the need for students to work in a practical capacity on the land as well as in academic studies. She proposed a Centre for Study and Work, where adolescents and selected adults live in a self-contained rural community, self-governing and, to a considerable extent, self-supporting.