Montessori Famous Students
There have been many famous people
That attended a Montessori school during some stage of their life. While one can argue, that there are many successful people who were not exposed to Montessori education, interesting is that many of those who attended Montessori school praise it as one of the important success factors.
Grammy award-winning violinist and subject of a Pulitzer prize-winning media star
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. “Pearls Before Breakfast” (Washington Post article)
Founder 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.
Illusionist & Magician
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.
The Brazelton Institute
Celebrity, Chef & Author
A student of a Montessori School in Pasadena California, Ms Child. exuded a sense of fun and inspired others to try new things in the kitchen. She credits a Montessori background with her manual dexterity—a key feature of her mastery as a chef—and with the love and joy she found in her work.
Academy award-winning actor, director, producer, humanitarian, United nations messenger of peace
Good pre-school pays off: Harvard economists say kindergartners with great teachers earn more later (and are more likely to attend college and own a home) than others. So what defines “good”? Turns out Montessori’s approach—unfolding students, not molding them—guides the most successful teachers. George Clooney? Montessori preschooler.
Grammy award-winning musician, rap recording artist and CEO of bad boy records
The multi-talented hip hop artist Sean “P Diddy” Combs says he feels fortunate to have attended Mount Vernon Montessori School during his childhood, recalling that, “I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special”.
John and Joan Cusack
Actor and screenwriter, and Academy award-nominated actress, respectively.
This sister-brother team, each of whom also has a hefty solo reputation, are not conventional heroes. That the former Montessorians’ work is described as “ideosynchratic”, “offbeat” and “fiercely original” is consistent with their belief in “a kind of Joseph Campbell theory of pursuing bliss. Whatever excites you is what you should be doing”.
Wikipedia profile (John)
Wikipedia profile (Joan
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, that were nurtured in him from childhood.
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.
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.
Memoirist & author Anne Frank’s famous diary
She—like all Montessori students—learned to cultivate observation skills and record her thoughts in a journal early on. Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the best loved books in the world today.
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 that 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 reign at the highly-regarded paper lasted more than two decades.
Viennese artist & architect
This world-renowned Austrian painter and architect attended a Montessori school in Vienna, which influenced both his affinity for vibrant colors and his love of nature. He collected pebbles and pressed flowers as a child, demonstrating an early interest in small, precious things—which later manifested itself in his work.
Academy award-winning actor
Winner of some big time honors (Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe all one year—a feat nearly unmatched in history) 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.”
Political activist, author, lecturer, awarded the presidential medal of freedom
One of Gallup’s most widely admired people of the 20th century Maria Montessori said that if, deaf and blind, Helen Keller became “a woman and writer of exceptional culture, who better than she proves the potency of [the Montessori] method?” In her tribute to Montessori, Helen’s teacher observes, “Only through freedom can people develop self-control, self-dependence, willpower and initiative. This is the lesson Helen’s education has for the world.” Anne Sullivan’s tribute to Montessori
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 that valued 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.
Yo Yo Ma
United Nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy Awards, Presidential Medal of Freedom & National Medal of the Arts
A child prodigy cellist and Montessori student, Yo Yo Ma learned early to follow his own interests and think outside traditional definitions. Today, critics call his artistic style “omnivorous” in reference to his versatility, his notably eclectic repertoire and his musical iconoclasm.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Nobel prize-winning author
Marquez said his Montessori education gave him “the desire to kiss literature” and states, “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.”
HM Queen Noor of Jordan
U.N. Advisor, humanitarian activist, memoirist and wife of the late king hussein of Jordan Her Majesty Queen Noor
An international public servant and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice. Her orientation toward peace directly reflects Maria Montessori’s—herself a three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee whose “education for peace” philosophy underpins our approach.
Sergey Brin & Larry Page
“You can’t understand Google,” says Wired, “unless you know [its founders] were Montessori kids… In a Montessori school, you paint because you have something to express or you just want to… not because the teacher said so. This is baked into Larry and Sergey… it’s how their brains were programmed early on.”
Youngest-ever American Rhodes scholar, author, Oxford research fellow, Oxford lecturer on global health politics
At 18, Devi Sridhar (a former Montessorian) spoke five languages, played both tennis and the violin expertly, and co-wrote a book on Indian mythology. In 2002 she became the youngest Rhodes Scholar in the program’s 100-year history. Interested in health as a young person, she now directs CEG’s global health governance project.
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”; 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”.
As a child, Wales was an avid reader with an acute intellectual curiosity, to which he credits his Montessori school’s philosophy of education.
Video game pioneer, creator of the Sims The videogame
Montessori was the “imagination amplifier” that prepared him for creating The Sims, Sim City, Spore and Super Mario Brothers. “SimCity comes right out of Montessori… It’s all about learning on your own terms.”