On this day 150 years ago, Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy. The scientist founded an educational style based on her studies that revealed children each had inherent, individual gifts and it was her job as a teacher to help them find and develop those passions and gifts—instead of dictating what a child should know at any specific age.
Her mixed-age classrooms emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers. Children were encouraged to make decisions and engage in activities of their choice for 3-hours at a time or more. She was one of the first to use child-sized tables and chairs in the classroom and her Montessori schools have sprung up across the world. She wrote many books about her philosophy of education, including the 1912 classic, The Montessori Method. and in 1949, The Absorbent Mind. (1870)
More Good News on this Day:
- Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a speech explaining his transcendentalist philosophy for the first time to a large audience — a sort of intellectual Declaration of Independence — telling them to break free from the past, pay attention to the present, and create their own unique ideas (1837)
- Happy 75th Birthday to Van Morrison, the soulful Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose albums Moondance and Astral Weeks have received critical acclaim (1945)
- Malaya [Malaysia] in 1957, and Trinidad and Tobago in 1962, gained independence from the UK; and Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union in 1991
- Walter Cronkite began anchoring the CBS Evening News (1963)
- The Provisional Irish Republican Army declared an indefinite and “complete cessation of military operations” after 25 years of bombing and killing, and although this ceasefire temporarily broke down from 1995–97, it essentially marked the end of the full scale campaign (1994)
- Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, was recovered in a raid by Norwegian police (2006)
And, on this day 23 years ago, the Good News Network made positive news available on the web for the first time. Geri Weis-Corbley, the founder, worked in TV news, freelancing for CNN and other media companies, until the advent of the internet when she created what is now the #1 source for inspiring news. After learning how to code in html, Geri designed and built the site—and launched it with a click of a button—delivering good news to anyone in the world. Read about why she started it.
This photo below, shot by a photographer for Women’s World magazine a couple months after launch, shows Geri 22 years ago with her first Mac computer and three children. Today, the kids are now adults—ages 25 through 29—and she still works on Macs. (1997)
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