Innovation, Inspiration and Independence are Fostered in Montessori Students
Neuroscience author Jonah Lehrer cites a 2006 study published in Science that compared the educational achievement performance of low-income Milwaukee children who attended Montessori schools versus children who attended a variety of other preschools, as determined by a lottery.
By the end of kindergarten, among 5 year olds, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children,” according to the researchers. “They also tested better on ‘executive function,’ the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”
Kevin Rathunde, a professor at the University of Utah who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, analyzed the results of a two-year study comparing 150 6th and 8th grade Montessori adolescents to 400 6th and 8th grade students attending traditional schools.
Montessori students reported a significantly better quality of experience in their academic work than did traditional students. In addition, Montessori students also perceived their schools as a more positive community for learning, with more opportunities for active learning, rather than passive learning.
“The child-centered approach of Montessori, emphasizing independence and personal responsibility, is the type of experience that leads to an accomplished student who is comfortable with an independent approach to learning.”
Doug McCann, Ph.D.Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Canada
“Our college is committed to engaging and educating students intellectually, morally and spiritually, with rigor and compassion, toward lives of solidarity, service and success. In that context, the university sees obvious benefits to admitting students with Montessori backgrounds. A Montessori education heightens the awareness of community, cultural and global events. These are beneficial components to any prospective college student. These academic and social skills empower the students to be independent learners.”
Roger Fortin, Academic Vice President, Xavier University, Ohio
“Montessori fosters what great leadership demands. Scholarship today is about more than regurgitating the pronouncements of professors. One must be able to see the ‘big picture’ without overlooking the critical details. The Montessori experience strengthens these skills and makes for a stronger student. Montessori shows great promise for educational reform and provides a foundation for dealing with the university environment.”
Jim Guthrie, Chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organization Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
From a 2012 interview with [email protected] (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania), Tony Wagner, Harvard University innovation education fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center and author of two books, states:
“Well, the first, as I said, is to encourage more exploratory play. So many parents are programming their kids’ days and weeks, and are worrying about their kids’ resumes in kindergarten or even earlier. What they need to understand, first and foremost, is that passion derives from more exploratory play. I don’t know whether you picked this up in the book, but I uncovered research to the effect that many of the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators today were, in fact, products of Montessori schools, where it is much more of a play-based form of learning.”
Peter Sims in a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, “The Montessori Mafia,” discusses two studies that support Montessori:
“Ironically, 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: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, not to mention Julia Child and rapper Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs.
“The Montessori Mafia showed up in an extensive, six-year study about the way creative business executives think. Professors Jeffrey Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of globe-spanning business school INSEAD surveyed over 3,000 executives and interviewed 500 people who had either started innovative companies or invented new products.
“A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity,” Gregersen said. “To paraphrase the famous Apple ad campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different).”
In a 2011 Forbes magazine article, “The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education,” Steve Denning (author and leadership, business and knowledge guru), states:
“I believe that the single most important idea for reform in K-12 education concerns a change in goal. The goal needs to shift from one of making a system that teaches children a curriculum more efficiently to one of making the system more effective by inspiring lifelong learning in students, so that they are able to have full and productive lives in a rapidly shifting economy.
“Unlike many other ideas now being pursued in education, the shift in goal doesn’t require years of research or armies of consultants or vast funding. It doesn’t involve reinventing the wheel. Thousands of Montessori schools have been on this track for many years, with extraordinary results.”
Steve Denning further supports his message in another 2011 Forbes magazine article, “Is Montessori The Origin Of Google & Amazon?”:
“The idea that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel was striking. The example of thousands of Montessori schools is before us. Montessori puts the student at the center. It is proven to work. As noted by Sivadlk, it’s working on every inhabited continent, at every economic level. The approach is over 100 years old, but the ideas are timeless. The world is finally catching up with Maria Montessori’s insights.”
The Montessori Method Develops Student Passions
Famous Montessori Students
Is it a coincidence that so many people on the leading edge of innovation and creativity in our culture attended Montessori schools as children? Perhaps it’s because Montessori offers an education for life and develops the skills children need more than ever before to succeed in today’s dynamic global society.
Notable Montessori Graduates Include:
Sergey Brin And Larry Page
~ co-Founders of Google
Prince William And Prince Harry
~ English royal family
~ Academy Award-winning actor, director, producer and humanitarian
~ Academy Award-winning actress
~ founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post
~ famous diarist from World War II
~ founder of Wikipedia
~ video game pioneer and designer of The Sims
HM Queen Noor Of Jordan
~ U.N. adviser, humanitarian activist, memoirist and wife of the late King Hussein of Jordan
~ Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter
~ singer, songwriter, actress and 16-time Grammy Award winner
~ former owner-editor of The Washington Post
~ star of TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
~ Nobel Prize-winning author for literature
~ American violinist
T. Berry Brazelton
~ noted pediatrician, child psychiatrist, and author
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
~ former editor and former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
~ actor and youngest-ever Screen Actors Award nominee
~ author, management consultant, and “social ecologist” awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
~ political activist, author, lecturer and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Yo Yo Ma
~ United Nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy awards and child prodigy cellist
~ child actress in “Little House on the Prairie”
John And Joan Cusack
~ actor/screenwriter and Academy Award-nominated actress
~ actress and daytime show co-host and creator
~ illusionist and magician
Notable Parents Who Chose Montessori Schools For Their Children:
Bill And Hillary Clinton
~ former President and Secretary of State
~ former actor
Yo Yo Ma
Others With A Montessori Connection:
~ political activist, author, lecturer and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, corresponded with Maria Montessori about their similar educational approaches.
~ noted scientist and inventor, helped found a Montessori school.
President Woodrow Wilson
~ His daughter trained as a Montessori teacher. There was a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House during Wilson’s presidency.
~ anthropologist/author, had a Montessori teaching certificate.
~ noted Swiss psychologist, made his first observations of children in a Montessori school. He was also head of the Swiss Montessori Society for many years.
Alexander Graham Bell
~ Inventor. He and his wife, Mabel, founded the Montessori Education Association in 1913. They also provided financial support directly to Dr. Maria Montessori and helped establish the first Montessori class in Canada and one of the first in the United States.