Maria Montessori
Google Doodle on Maria MontessoriReuters

Internet giant Google welcomes its users with a new doodle in honor of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, who would have turned 142 years old on Thursday.

The new doodle seen on the homepage shows a set of educational tools to mark the birth anniversary of Maria Montessori and to commemorate her pioneering work in the education field.

Born on Aug 31, 1870 Maria Montessori was a renowned humanitarian and was always a little ahead of her times with her talents. She was known for developing a unique teaching programme that helps defective children to read and write.

In 1907, Maria Montessori was given the opportunity to study normal children after which she opened her first preschool for children.  As part of her project in slums, she took charge of fifty poor children from the streets of San Lorenzo. Her work was considered a success and was later established as 'Montessori method '.

Maria Montessori was twice nominated for Noble Peace Prize, and it was in India where her "Education for Peace" theme began in 1937. She also travelled to several countries to disseminate her educational methods. On May 6, 1952 Maria Montessori died of cerebral haemorrhage in Netherlands, aged 81.

The philosophy behind Montessori method is about the child making his/her own decisions and the desire to learn about something in particular. It focuses on independent learning, relative freedom and respect for a child's natural mental development.

Maria Montessori's education method is in use in both public and private schools throughout the world today. According to Tqs Magazine data, about 20,000 schools and education establishments around the world use Montessori method.

Montessori establishments generally have mixed age classrooms where children, aged 2-and-half to nine, learn concepts by working with materials. Montessori teachers avoid giving direct instructions and allow students to work with specialized educational materials.

Maria Montessori had earlier quoted, "A teacher is not a master, but an observer and companion. Focus on what children want to learn and they will learn."