Today’s Google Doodle is a special one that honors the 142nd birthday of Maria Montessori:

Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.

In a Wired article, called “An Unconventional CEO“, Steven Levy interviews former Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, who commented on Montessori.

“You can’t understand Google unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kid,” Levy explained. “She’s referring to schools based on the education philosophy of Maria Montessori, an Italian physician born in 1870 who believed that children should be allowed the freedom to pursue their interests.”

“In a Montessori school, you go paint because you have something to express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so,” articulated Mayer. “This is baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking, why should it be like that? It’s the way their brains were programmed early on.”