NOTABLE MONTESSORI ALUMNI
Montessori education has been widely available in the United States and around the world for more than half a century. During that time, many children have benefitted from a Montessori educational environment. Some of the names may surprise you!
LARRY PAGE and SERGEY BRIN,
Founders of Google
Google, the Internet search engine, was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They had been friends since childhood but when asked if it was the fact that their parents were both college professors being the reason for their success they said no, it was their going to a Montessori school where they learned to be self directed and self starters. They said their Montessori education allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests. Larry Page and Sergey Brin credit their success to attending a Montessori Preschool teaching them to think outside the box.
Founder of Wikipedia
It was Jimmy's love of learning and his desire to provide a platform where the knowledge of human kind to be made available to all at no cost. For many, this type of dream may have seemed too large to reach, but Jimmy stretched for his goal and persevered. Wikipedia is now the largest and most queried knowledge platform on the internet.
YO YO MA
United nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy Awards, Presidential Medal of Freedom & National Medal of the Arts
One of the most sought after cellists of our times, he has appeared with eminent conductors and orchestras all over the world. Ma, was born in Paris in 1955, and gave his first public recital by age 5. By 19 he was compared to such masters as Rostroparich and Casals. He went onto graduate from Harvard and currently resides in Boston with his wife and two children. As a pre-schooler, his daughter Emily attended the Lexington Montessori School. He said in an interview with Montessori Life magazine that “Structure is an absolutely important part of the creative life, and Emily got this from her Montessori experience.”
Founder of Amazon
Jeffrey Preston Bezos (born January 12, 1964) is the founder, president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of Amazon.com.
Amazon’s founder, who proudly cites his Montessori roots, is a study in contradictions: analytical and intuitive, careful and audacious, playful and determined. Critics note his extraordinary ability to learn from others, one hallmark of Montessori education.
JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS
Former First Lady
Jacqueline Onassis (1929-1994), the wife of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, attended a Montessori school in her early years. She was later married to the Greek Shipping Magnate, Aristotle Onassis and achieved a successful career as a book editor. As a child, the former First Lady attended Miss Chapin’s School for Girls in Manhattan. Miss Chapin was a pioneer in education for girls; she attended Dr. Montessori’s New York lectures in the 1930s and enthusiastically included Montessori methods in her classrooms.
GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ
Nobel Prize-Winning Novelist
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Columbian author who won a Nobel Prize for literature was sent to a Montessori school and is an avid supporter of the philosophy. He stated, ” I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life.” His book, One Hundred Years of Solitude, has been named as the book that has most shaped world literature of the last 25 years.
Famous Child Diarist from World War II
Anne Frank is remembered around the world for her diary Het Achterhuis which speaks about her adolescence in German occupied Amsterdam in World War II. The diary describes the impact of Nazi anti-Semitism on Jewish and Dutch communities. Anne was born to an upper class Jewish family in Frankfurt before moving to Amsterdam. Her family selected a small Montessori School for Anne to attend where she was remembered as an ordinary student but with the ability to draw more from her experiences than the average student – a typical Montessorian characteristic.
First TV chef
The movie Julie and Julia brings us a fresh awareness of the life of the famous chef, Julia Child. Julia Child was sent to a local Montessori school at age 4, run by May and Augusta Davies, who had studied with Maria Montessori. In her book, Julia Child & Company, she credits her Montessori experience with her love of working with her hands. Julia Child exemplifies creativity, initiative and self-confidence.
WOODROW WILSON - Advocate
Woodrow Wilson, President of The United States of America had a Montessori classroom installed in the basement of the White House during his term of office. White House staff were encouraged to send their children. President Wilson's daughter trained as a Montessori teacher. Margaret Wilson was on the committee that brought Dr. Montessori to the USA in 1915.
Original designer of the groundbreaking games SimCity, The Sims and Spore, Wright stated he had been inspired to create certain elements of SimCity from his experiences in his Montessori school.
Pulitzer prize-winning author and former owner & editor of The Washington Post
Crisis forced Katherine Graham to assume control of The Washington Post. Her confidence faltered but—remembering what matters is how people learn, not what they know—Graham said, “The Montessori method, learning by doing, once again became my stock in trade.” Her tenure at the highly-regarded paper lasted more than two decades.
Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter
Taylor Swift, country music’s youngest-ever Entertainer of the Year, attended Alvernia Montessori School in Berks County, PA. The singer is widely described as “the product of homegrown values”; The New York Times calls her “one of pop’s finest songwriters, country music’s foremost pragmatist, and more in touch with her inner life than most adults.”
PRINCE HARRY and PRINCE WILLIAM
Sons of Charles, Prince of Wales
The royal family can send their children anywhere. They chose Montessori education.
Author, Management consultant, “social ecologist”, awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom
Peter Drucker, once a Montessori child, is one of the most influential management gurus in history. His work focuses on human relationships as opposed to numbers-crunching; his books are filled with lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers can find dignity and community in their work.
Academy Award winning actor
George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, director, and activist. He has received three Golden Globe Awards for his work as an actor and two Academy Awards, one for acting and the other for producing. - Wikipedia
Winner of some big time honors (Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe all one year—a feat nearly unmatched in history), Helen Hunt is one cool Montessorian, which makes her observation all the more interesting. “If there’s a message, it’s that the unlovable and unattractive parts of ourselves should be embraced. The only real currency between people is what happens when they’re not cool.”
This youngest-ever Screen Actors Award nominee, history’s youngest Academy member recalls, “I learned to read at two…in a Montessori school where they teach you to read really, really young.” Montessori kids are not technically taught to read (reading skills just emerge in the right environment, we think), but they work at their own pace in age-diverse groups—not in curriculum-dictated lockstep with same-age peers. For Fanning, autonomy led to early achievement throughout her life.
Youngest American Rhodes Scholar
Dr. Devi Sridhar is University Lecturer in Global Health Politics and Fellow at Wolfson College. She is part of the George Centre for Healthcare Innovation (part of the Martin School) and a faculty member of the Blavatnik School of Government. She has worked with a number of UN agencies, civil society organizations and Ministries of Health in emerging and developing countries. She holds a DPhil (December 2006) and MPhil from Oxford and a B.S. from the University of Miami.
American Grammy Winning Violinist
Joshua Bell is a Grammy award-winning violinist and subject of a Pulitzer prize-winning media story. A world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell is thoughtful about the role his music plays in society. In a cultural experiment turned Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, it is Bell’s humility, not his virtuosity, that most inspires. In suspending his fame to explore the true meaning of his work, Bell exhibits Montessori thinking at its best.
This internationally-acclaimed American author was once a Montessori student of Post Oak’s Head of School, John Long. The sense of wonder that infuses his luminous, precisely-crafted prose is evidence of the gifts, and the love of nature, nurtured in him from childhood.
David Blaine was a four-year old Montessori student when he fell in love with magic. Today he’s called “the modern day Houdini” by The New York Times, which says, “He’s taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it… [His magic] “operates on an uncommonly personal level.”
T BERRY BRAZELTON
Pediatrician, child psychiatrist, author and Harvard Medical School Professor Emeritus
Dr. Brazelton’s positive, child-oriented philosophy of parenting has influenced countless families to raise children who are “confident, caring, and hungry to learn.” Brazelton attended a Montessori school as a child and now supports Montessori philosophy through his lectures and publications.
CRAIG AND MARC KIELBURGER
Child rights advocates, bestselling authors and leadership specialists; founded Free the Children, the world’s largest network of children helping children, and co-founded Leaders Today a youth leadership training organization.
VIRGINIA LEE BURTON
Author and Illustrator
Talented author and illustrator of some of the most enduring books ever written for children. Daughter of Dean Burton, the first dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who converted his barn into a Montessori School. She was the author of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, which was first published in 1939. She was the winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal for The Little House.
Singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer,16-time Grammy award-winner
In Houston, at St. Mary of the Purification Montessori, Beyoncé’s talents first emerged. In a school valuing both art and academics, a top student and world-class performer was born. Today Beyoncé has been nominated for more Grammys than anyone in history and is one of pop music’s most highly-regarded figures.
Daughter of Bill & Hillary Clinton
The Clintons had the opportunity to send Chelsea to any school, but they chose Montessori school. Montessori education builds leaders.