Maria Montessori, the Italian physician and educator, gets Google Doodle

31 Aug 2012

Google Doodle celebrates Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Google has today paid tribute to the Italian physician Maria Montessori, the creator of the Montessori method of education for young children, on what would be her 142nd birthday, in a playful Doodle.

Born on 31 August 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Montessori is noted for being one of the first woman in Italy to qualify as a physician, having graduated from the University of Rome in 1896.

She is best known for revolutionising the early education of children in the 20th century by pioneering the Montessori method of education, which aims to help children explore and develop their creative potential. The method of teaching is now taught in Montessori schools all around the world for children.

Montessori opened the first Montessori school – the Casa del Bambini – in a poor inner city area of Rome, giving children puzzles to work on, introducing smaller tables, and designing material so that pupils could essentially teach themselves. The Montessori method was first introduced to Ireland in 1920.

Today’s Doodle features some of the tools that form the Montessori’s revolutionary method of educating young children.

Maria Montessori

Photo of Maria Montessori, taken in 1913. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a quote from Montessori herself, based on lectures that she gave*: “It is not true that I invented what is called the Montessori Method … I have studied the child, I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method.” *Transcribed and translated by Gnana Prakasam

Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, based on her work around education and the lectures she gave on peace.

She died at the age of 81 on 6 May 1952 in Noordwijk, the Netherlands

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic