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Montessorians Who Have Changed Your Life (Even if You Don’t Know It)

January 07, 2019

The world’s most innovative, creative, and forward-thinking people all share some of the same traits. They’re great leaders, they think outside of the box, they’re able to adapt and reinvent themselves, they’re dedicated and determined, and they know how to communicate their ideas and collaborate with others.

Some people seem like they’re born with these traits, but they don’t come out of nowhere. They’re developed in a nurturing environment, with the help of supportive families, mentors, and teachers.

That need for nurture and support is what makes a Montessori education especially well suited to developing those skills and characteristics. And there’s no better proof of it than the successful, influential, and towering figures in our culture who have had their start as Montessori students.

How Montessori Nurtures Leaders, Innovators, and Creators

The Montessori method is all about following the child’s natural development, encouraging their innate curiosity, and giving them the tools to make learning enjoyable and exciting.

 

  • Independent and self-directed learning is a cornerstone of Montessori education. It’s this opportunity to use and develop their own skills, interests, and passions that help our students become independent leaders and thinkers who know how to bring their ideas to life.
  • Montessori materials and teaching techniques make learning exploratory, hands-on, and most importantly fun and enjoyable.
  • Instead of rigid and prescribed workflows, Montessori teachers allow their students to engage in a focused and uninterrupted activity. Behind every work of art is a lot of hard work, behind every achievement there are always some false starts, and behind every ground-breaking product, there are countless iterations that the public has never seen. By encouraging focus, Montessori programs give students the determination and dedication it takes to make great things happen.
  • Multi-age classrooms and a focus on social development show Montessori students the value of teamwork, collaboration, and learning from others. No one achieves great things in a vacuum. Montessorians have had such a strong impact on our world in large part because they know how to assemble brilliant teams, motivate them, and work with them as a unit. 
  • Apple Montessori Schools does all this and more with our Montessori Plus To ensure that our students have all the tools they need for a happy, fulfilling, and successful future, we enhance our core Montessori curriculum with an early reading program, language education, and a variety of developmental activities. We also ensure a secure and continuous learning experience with our safety-certified facilities, summer program, and partnerships with parents and families.

 

Montessorians Who Have Changed Our Lives

When you want proof that something works, you look at the results. In the case of Montessori, that means looking at the successes and accomplishments of Montessori graduates. Lots of Montessori students go on to do amazing, incredible, and important things in their lives and careers. Here, we’ll have look at some of the most famous and prominent ones.

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

Wales was educated in a school that he describes as having a “Montessori-influenced philosophy of education.” But it’s more than that. That Montessori-style education was the family business – the school was run by his mother and grandmother.

The Montessori principles at the core of his upbringing and education allowed Wales to become a very successful entrepreneur, but it’s by founding the world’s first free, global, and multi-lingual encyclopedia, he found a way to make knowledge widely accessible and democratic and left his mark on our world.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Co-Founders of Google

Along with Wales, Page and Brin have had perhaps the strongest influence on how we acquire knowledge these days. Page and Brin may not have invented the search engine, but they perfected it and made it an indispensable tool.

Page credits their Montessori education with giving him the kind of mindset needed to shake up the way we find information online. The ability to think outside the box and discover unconventional solutions prepared them to take something as simple as a search engine and reinvent it to better suit the user’s needs.

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Just like it was former Montessorians who changed the way we access information, it took a Montessori grad to completely revolutionize the world of commerce. Under Bezos’s guidance, online shopping went from fringe to mainstream and Amazon.com went from an online book retailer to a global commercial giant.

It takes a lot of determination to take a fairly small idea (shipping books online) and transform it into a new way to shop for just about everything, and we can credit the Montessori method for that determination. Bezos’s mother told the Wall Street Journal that he spent his Montessori years highly engrossed in his classroom activities. Instead of ushering him through a predetermined lesson plan, his teachers gave him the space to nurture that focus.

Will Wright, Co-Founder of Maxis and Creator of SimCity and The Sims

Wright credits his Montessori education with teaching him the joy of discovery. Through his work as a game developer, Wright has given gamers the opportunity to feel some of that joy themselves by popularizing free exploration, design, and simulation in video games. With ground-breaking titles like SimCity and The Sims, Wright put an emphasis on making games creative for those who play them, not just those who design them.

Julia Child, Chef, Cookbook Author, and Television Host

There is a vast and complicated story explaining why so many of us consider ourselves home chefs or foodies. We love exploring new cuisines and making the occasional elaborate dish, but that might not have been the case if it wasn’t for Julia Child.

Through her popular cookbooks and cooking shows, Child introduced American households to some of the techniques, flavors, and signature dishes of French cuisine. She broadened the palate of the country and made us all a little more adventurous in the kitchen, and a large part of it has to do with her infectious love of cooking. Like Wright, she credits her Montessori background for showing her how to find joy and passion in the work she did.

Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder of Circle

Allaire may not be a household name like some of the other people on this list, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a big impact.

Most of us have stopped using dollar bills and coins for most of our purchases, but that’s just the start of the transformation money is undergoing. Digital currency (like Bitcoin and its competitors) has its share of early adopters, but as the co-founder of Circle, Allaire aims to make it accessible to the general consumer. And of course, his visionary thinking and problem-solving don’t come out of nowhere: he cites his Montessori education as the source of his “belief in self-direction, independent thought, peer collaboration, [and] responsibility.”

It’s too soon to tell what place digital currency will have in our lives, but we can be sure Allaire will be at the forefront of those changes.

Countless Other Creators, Artists, and Innovators

There are countless creative people whose Montessori education led them to create work that has brought us all joy and inspiration – musicians like Joshua Bell and Taylor Swift, actors and actresses like Helen Hunt and George Clooney, and authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, just to name a few.

Compiling a complete list would be far too long for an article like this, but it’s clear from just the few people named here that whenever you find someone who is changing the landscape and pushing the boundaries – whether in cooking, pop music, or technology – there’s a chance we can thank the Montessori method for giving them the skills, attitude, and character they needed to make it happen.

There’s no better testament to the power of a Montessori education than the incredible achievements of its students. It’s hard to imagine what our world would be like without these Montessorians, and I can’t help but wonder how different it would be if more children were given the creative and leadership tools imparted by the Montessori method.

Montessori Multi-age Classrooms: Teaching Leadership by ExampleIs Montessori Really for Infants? Curriculum for Our Youngest Students

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