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Google doodles for Maria Montessori

Posted on Aug 31, 10:45AM | IBNS

Popular search engine Google on Friday celebrated 142th birthday of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori with a beautiful doodle decorating its homepage.

The doodle is designed with various educational tools used by teachers across the world to teach toddlers in Montessori classes.

The letters of the word 'Google' has been designed in the shape of educational tools.

Montessori was born on Aug 31, 1870. She was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name.

Her educational method is used today in public and private schools throughout the world.

Montessori graduated from the University of Rome in 1896 and in so doing became the first female to earn the distinction of a doctor of medicine.

Her thesis was published in 1897 in the journal Policlinico. She found employment as an assistant at the University hospital and started a private practice.

In 1906 Montessori was invited to oversee the care and education of a group of children of working parents in a new apartment building for low-income families in the San Lorenzo district in Rome. Montessori was interested in applying her work and methods to mentally normal children, and she accepted.

The name Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, was suggested to Montessori, and the first Casa opened on January 6, 1907, enrolling 50 or 60 children between the ages of two or three and six or seven.

At first, the classroom was equipped with a teacher's table and blackboard, a stove, small chairs, armchairs, and group tables for the children, and a locked cabinet for the materials that Montessori had developed at the Orthopophrenic School.

Activities for the children included personal care such as dressing and undressing, care of the environment such as dusting and sweeping, and caring for the garden.

The children were also shown the use of the materials Montessori had developed.

Montessori herself, occupied with teaching, research, and other professional activities, oversaw and observed the classroom work, but did not teach the children directly. Day-to-day teaching and care were provided, under Montessori's guidance, by the building porter's daughter.

In this first classroom, Montessori observed behaviors in these young children which formed the foundation of her educational method. She noted episodes of deep attention and concentration, multiple repetitions of activity, and a sensitivity to order in the environment.

Given free choice of activity, the children showed more interest in practical activities and Montessori's materials than in toys provided for them, and were surprisingly unmotivated by sweets and other rewards. Over time, she saw a spontaneous self-discipline emerged.

Based on her observations, Montessori implemented a number of practices that became hallmarks of her educational philosophy and method.

She replaced the heavy furniture with child-sized tables and chairs light enough for the children to move, and placed child-sized materials on low and accessible shelves.

She expanded the range of practical activities such as sweeping and personal care to include a wide variety of exercises for care of the environment and the self, including flower arranging, hand washing, gymnastics and cooking.

She continued to adapt and refine the materials she had developed earlier, altering or removing exercises which were chosen less frequently by the children.

Also based on her observations, Montessori experimented with allowing children free choice of the materials, uninterrupted work, and freedom of movement and activity within the limits set by the environment.

She began to see independence as the aim of education, and the role of the teacher as an observer and director of children's innate psychological development.

The first Casa dei Bambini was a success, and a second was opened on April 7, 1907. The children in her programmes continued to exhibit concentration, attention, and spontaneous self-discipline, and the classrooms began to attract the attention of prominent educators, journalists, and public figures.

In the fall of 1907, Montessori began to experiment with teaching materials for writing and reading-letters cut from sandpaper and mounted on boards, moveable cutout letters, and picture cards with labels.

Four and five year old children engaged spontaneously with the materials and quickly gained a proficiency in writing and reading far beyond what was expected for their age.

This attracted further public attention to Montessori's work.

In 1909, Montessori held the first teacher training course in her new method in Cittą di Castello, Italy.

In the same year, she described her observations and methods in a book titled Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica Applicato All'Educazione Infantile Nelle Case Dei Bambini (The Method of Scientific Pedagogy Applied to the Education of Children in the Children's Houses). Two more training courses were held in Rome in 1910, and a third in Milan in 1911.

Montessori's reputation and work began to spread internationally as well, and around that time she gave up her medical practice to devote more time to her educational work, developing her methods and training teachers.

In 1919 she resigned from her position at the University of Rome, as her educational work was increasingly absorbing all her time and interest.

The educator died on May 6, 1952 at the age of 81.

From Charlie Chaplin to Marie Curie, Google doodles have not only celebrated the birth anniversaries of great personalities, they have also made internet users know about important dates through the designs and animation.