Today Google honors the occasion of education pioneer Maria Montessori’s 142nd birthday.
Montessori, an Italian physician and educator born in 1870, devised a method of education based on human development. She did extensive work with inner-city and institutionalized children; the Doodle reflects her innovative ideas in practical, hands-on learning activities for the very young. Today, these ideas are applied in Montessori schools around the world and have influenced countless teachers, day-care centers, and homeschoolers, and even iPad apps.*
As a homeschooling mother, I’ve borrowed many of her ideas over the years, especially her nifty trick for teaching a preschooler how to put on her own jacket and her thoughts on involving children early and joyfully in household tasks.
Here’s my favorite Montessori quote:
“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants–doing nothing but living and walking about–came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.”