Maria Montessori was a pioneer in education who was remembered for introducing methodology as a way to measure and observe students, but for today most people will probably know her as the woman from the Google doodle.
On what would be her 142nd birthday, the Italian educator was honored by Google with a doodle featuring a series of children’s educational puzzles that today are integral to the Montessori education method. Clicking on the picture took viewers to pages where they could learn more about Maria Montessori, including her contributions to the education field.
Montessori worked mostly with mentally disabled children, helping them use their senses and tactile experience to do physical activity, the Times of India noted. Using the observations she made, Maria Montessori was able to develop a pedagogy based in science that is now used in schools worldwide.
Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, but by the time she turned 5 her parents moved the family to Rome. After graduating from the technical school Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti when she was 20, Maria Montessori made the decision continue her education and study medicine, one that was unheard of for a woman, NDTV reported.
Montessori graduated from the University of Rome in 1896, becoming the first female to earn the a doctor of medicine.
Working as an assistant in the university’s psychiatric clinic, Maria Montessori was able to visit asylums and make observations that would later form the basis of her educational theories. She pioneered the idea of mixed classrooms with children anywhere from 2 1/2 or 3 to 9 years old.
Maria Montessori also came up with the idea that students learn concepts best by working with material rather than direct instruction, NDTV noted. She also believed in uninterrupted blocks of work time and giving students the ability to choose their activities within a certain set of options.