Famous Montessori Alumni

Montessori has graduated an extraordinary number of successful, creative thinkers in all sorts of disciplines. 

Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon

“Mr. Bezos often compares Amazon’s strategy of developing ideas in new markets to ‘planting seeds’ or ‘going down blind alleys. But every once in a while, you go down an alley and it opens up into this huge, broad avenue.’ “

Will WrightDesigner of The Sims

“Montessori taught me the joy of discovery… It showed you can become interested in pretty complex theories, like Pythagorean theory, say, by playing with blocks. It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori — if you give people this model for building cities, they will abstract from it principles of urban design.”

Gabriel Garcia MarquezNobel Prize Winner for Literature

“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.”

“It took me a long time to learn to read. It did not seem logical to me that the letter “m” was called “eme”… It was impossible for me to read like that.
Finally, when I arrived at Montessori, the teacher did not teach me the names but the sounds of the consonants. So I could read the first book I found in a dusty chest … It was unstitched and incomplete but it absorbed me in a very intense way.”

Yo Yo MaCellist, United nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy Awards, Presidential Medal of Freedom & National Medal of the Arts

“Structure is an absolutely important part of the creative life, and Emily [Ma] got this from her Montessori experience.”

Larry PageCEO, Co-Founder of Google

“We both went to Montessori school, and I think it was part of that training … of being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit different.”

Jimmy WalesFounder of Wikipedia

“I really like Montessori and all my children have (or will, in the case of the baby) gone to Montessori preschools”

“As a child, Wales was a keen reader with an acute intellectual curiosity and, in what he credits to the influence of the Montessori method on the school’s philosophy of education, ‘spent lots of hours pouring [sic] over the Britannicas and World Book Encyclopedias,’ ” says Mr. Wales’ own Wikipedia entry. “There were only four other children in Wales’ grade, so the school grouped together the first through fourth grade students and the fifth through eighth grade students. As an adult, Wales was sharply critical of the government’s treatment of the school, citing the ‘constant interference and bureaucracy and very sort of snobby inspectors from the state’ as a formative influence on his political philosophy.”

Katherine GrahamFormer Owner and Editor of the Washington Post

“The Montessori method—learning by doing—once again became my stock in trade…”

George ClooneyAcademy award-winning actor, director, producer, humanitarian, United nations messenger of peace

“Turns out Montessori’s approach—unfolding students, not molding them—guides the most successful teachers”

Sergey BrinCo-Founder of Google

“I benefited from the Montessori education which in some ways gives the students a lot more freedom to do things at their own pace, to discover… Some of the credit for the willingness to go on your own interests, you can tie that back to that Montessori education.”

Sean CombsGrammy award-winning musician, rap artist and CEO of bad boy records

“I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special”

“The Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so over-represented by the school’s alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia,” writes The Wall Street Journal, which names Combs as part of this talented gang. “Is there something going on here? Is there something about the Montessori approach that nurtures creativity and inventiveness that we can all learn from?”

Helen KellerPolitical 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.”

Dakota FanningActress, history’s youngest Academy member

“I learned to read at two, I was in a Montessori school and they teach you to read really, really young.”

Montessori graduates also include:
actors Cami Cotler, John and Joan Cusack, Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, Helen Hunt, and Lea Salonga; artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser; management guru Peter Drucker; former First Lady and literary editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; chef/author Julia Child; musician Joshua Bell; Chelsea Clinton; and Princes William and Harry of Wales.

Other Famous Supporters of the Montessori Method:

Thomas Edison – The inventor of the incandescent light bulb, kick-started 4 Montessori schools

“I like the Montessori method. It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being. The present system casts the brain into a mold. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning.”

Alexander Graham Bell – Inventor of the first practical telephone, helped create the first Montessori school in Canada.

“There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things.”

Peter Drucker – often considered ‘the inventor of modern management’, was a great admirer of the Montessori method:

“For thousands of years people have been talking about improving teaching — to no avail. It was not until the early years of this century, however, that an educator asked, “What is the end product?” Then the answer was obvious: It is not teaching. It is, of course, learning. And then the same educator, the great Italian doctor and teacher Maria Montessori (1870-1952), began to apply systematic analysis of the work and systematic integration of the parts into a process.

— Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973)

Justin Trudeau – The second-youngest Canadian Prime Minister ever

“I am a teacher. It’s how I define myself. A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That’s the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching”

Marissa Mayer – CEO of Yahoo (former VP of Google)

“You can’t understand Google unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kids. … In 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. This is really baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking ‘Why should it be like that?’ ”

Mohandas Gandhi – Activist for Peace

Many of us have heard Gandhi’s quote: ‘If we are to achieve real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children’; however what might not be well known is that he spoke these words at a Montessori Teacher Training Center in 1931 as a reference to a statement made by Maria Montessori.

Ghandi was a great admirer of Montessori’s ‘peace education’ which is seamlessly integrated into the overall Montessori Method.