As Montessori Education Week is celebrated worldwide Feb. 23-March 1, the success of its alumni and continued relevance of the Montessori philosophy are being recognized.

Products of Montessori education include such notable individuals as actor George Clooney,Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos, actress Helen Hunt, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and chef and author Julia Child.

Locally, Villa Montessori School is proud that some of its own alumni are now doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and corporate leaders. Local alumni also hold key volunteer positions in organizations like United Way and Junior Achievement.

Proponents of change in our country’s education system propose new “innovations” to improve student achievement, such as multi-age groupings, collaborative learning, cross-discipline learning, an emphasis on hands-on materials, and respect for the global environment. All of these “innovations” have actually been an integral part of the Montessori philosophy of education since 1907, and have been proven by the success of Montessori students over the years. In numerous interviews, Google’s Page and Brin have credited much of their success to their Montessori education, which encouraged them to be self-motivated learners who freely questioned the world around them.

Both research and success stories support the basic principles behind this method of education. It is as relevant today when Maria Montessori opened her first school, Casa dei Bambini (“Children’s House.” More than 100 years later, the Montessori philosophy still flourishes in approximately 20,000 schools worldwide.

Renee M. Detloff

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Villa Montessori School