Google Doodle celebrating the 142nd anniversary of Maria Montessori’s birth, August 31, 2012.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician best known for her philosophy of education. She began her career working with developmentally disabled children. In 1900, Maria was appointed co-director of a new institute for training teachers of developmentally disabled children. She went on to study psychology and anthropology, becoming a lecturer at the University of Rome.
Interested in applying her pedagogical methods to a wider range of students, Maria founded a school for young working class Roman children in 1906. The school, called Casa dei Bambini, implemented a number of ideas that would become hallmarks of Montessori education, such as child sized furniture and a range of hands on activities.
Within just a few years, Montessori education spread. Four more Casa dei Bambini schools were opened in Italy in the next two years. In less than 10 years, Montessori schools were open in Switzerland, France, Sweden, Spain, the UK, the US, and Canada. Today there are an estimated 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are among the graduates of Montessori schools.