Google is displaying a new Doodle on its front page today, in honor of the birthday of Maria Montessori, the Italian educator known for the Montessori method of education.
According the North American Montessori Teachers Association, the method is practiced in about 20,000 schools around the world, for children up to eighteen years of age.
The method is rooted in independence and giving children a bit more freedom than they would have in more traditional schools. According to the the American Montessori Society, this includes things like mixed age classrooms, student choice of activities (within a set range of options), uninterrupted blocks of work time and a "discovery" model, where students learn from working with things directly, as opposed to simply being instructed.
This doodle shares a special place in Google's heart, as the company's co-founders credit their success, at least in part, to the Montessori Method. Here's a Barbara Walters interview with Sergey Brin and Larry Page talking about the impact it has had (hat tip to Barry Schwartz):
"We both went to Montessori school, and I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated, questioning what's going on in the world, doing things a little bit different," said Page.
Maria Montessori was born on this day in 1870. She passed on May 6, 1952 at the age of 81. In addition to her pioneering educational philosophies, she also practiced medicine
According to Google's Knowledge Graph, people who search for Maria Montessori also search for Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, Erik Erikson and Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel.