August 31, 2012
Maria Montessori's 142nd Birthday
Legendary educator Maria Montessori pioneered her self-titled teaching technique in the early 20th century, revolutionizing the classroom. Until then, typical curriculum consisted of lectures, rote memorization, and strict testing. There was little to no chance for children to explore concepts on their own or learn at their own pace. Montessori's innovative contribution to educational philosophy consisted of allowing students to be self-directed in their approach to learning. The teacher's role became less directly didactic, more nurturing – educators were there to enable the discovery of knowledge, not to simply repeat facts.
Some of the most iconic embodiments of the Montessori method are the materials used in pre-k learning, some of which can be seen above. I attended a Montessori school from preschool to eighth grade, and researching this doodle made for an evocative trip down memory lane. Looking at pictures of her materials immediately called back memories of playing with number beads and trinomial cubes. These simple, brightly-colored objects taught me the foundations of arithmetic, geometry, spelling, and grammar, not to mention (not pictured) geography, biology, and botany.
Though Maria Montessori's techniques were considered audacious and controversial when she pioneered them, the Montessori method lives on today in more than seven thousand schools worldwide, teaching generation after generation of children to be independent, intellectually curious, and innovative.
Posted by Sophia Foster-Dimino, Doodler