Search-engine major Google, on Friday, celebrated the 142nd birth anniversary of Maria Montessori – popularly known to be founder of the Montessori system of education.

The Google doodle is a representation of the various tools and playthings that form an integral part of Montessori education methods.

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator. Her educational methods are in use today in public and private schools throughout the world.

Born on August 31, 1870, at Chiaravalle in Italy, Maria Montessori along with her family later moved to Rome in 1875. It was in Rome that she enrolled in a public elementary school when she was 6.

She graduated from the technical school Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti at the age of 20 and later decided to study medicine.

In 1897 - a year after completing her graduation -Maria Montessori was accepted as a voluntary assistant at the University's psychiatric clinic. As part of her work, she visited asylums in Rome where she observed children with mental disabilities.

Her observations formed the fundamental to her future educational work.

These observations translated into what are now known as the essential values of Montessori education around the globe. Some of her observations include mixed age classrooms, student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options or some "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials.

She died of a cerebral haemorrhage in the Netherlands, at the age of 81.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 31, 2012)
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