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Maria Montessori, an Italian educator who was the first woman doctor granted a degree in Italy, has been well known in the field of childhood education since the early 1900s. Dissatisfied with the educational methods of her time, she developed her own theories in systematic fashion. The Montessori Method, as it became known, allows each child to develop at his or her own pace through the manipulation of materials. The teacher's role is to provide the materials and then act as a supervisor and a guide. This and other concepts of hers have had considerable influence on modern education. Montessori first worked with retarded children, then classified as "untrainable," most of whom she succeeded in teaching to read and write. She established a number of Houses of Children in Italy devoted to providing new opportunities for underprivileged children. Recent U.S. efforts in this direction have led to a strong revival of interest in her work, and Montessori's methods also have been expanded to children beyond the preschool years.