24 August 2004 by Published in: entertainment 1 comment

A Parent’s Guide to the Montessori Classroom by Aline D. Wolf

This book was given to us by the Montessori school, and was a fascinating read. It describes in detail many of the materials designed by Maria Montessori and how they are used by children in the classroom setting. After reading it, I wonder at standard schools who don’t bother to explain the philosophy behind their educational approach to parents, much less the use of their classroom materials. Is it because there is no underlying philosophy? Because they aren’t sure what the philosophy is? Because they don’t think the parents need to know? Maybe it’s because their approaches don’t make as much sense as the Montessori approach. Because that’s what blows me away about it, it makes so much sense, and seems so true to the nature of children. I want to be involved, I want to help and I feel like I couldn’t do either without understanding the basics of it. And there’s not only the fact that they encourage, even demand, that parents understand the Montessori educational philosophy, there’s a bottom line goal in the Montessori classroom that has nothing to do with teaching them to read or teaching them mathematics. It has to do with nurturing in them a love of learning and respect. They’re completely unafraid to tell you this. We will teach your kids to love learning. We will teach them to respect themselves, each other and the natural world. We can’t tell you when they’ll be reading, because only they know exactly when, but we can tell you they’ll learn it and love it. This seems like such a bold and unapologetic stance to me. I applaud them for it, and I hope they succeed with Sophia. My highest aspirations for her are that she love to learn and that she coexist peacefuly with others and the world around her. This is a very bright and encouraging day for me, and I hope it is so for Sophia.

I imagine that I will be reading and writing quite a bit about Montessori methods over the next few months. Stay tuned.

The other night on the Montessori school’s bulletin board I noticed an article about Montessori schools that had a classroom picture of several children, with a caption pointing out Anne Frank. Holy cow! Anne Frank went to a Montessori school? Cooooooool, I thought to myself. That got me wondering what other notable people might have attended Montessori schools. A little digging on the web got me to this list, taken from the Casa Di Mir Montessori School’s FAQ, which I’m pasting below.

Below is a list of many familiar people who were Montessori educated:

  • Katherine Graham (deceased), owner/editor of the Washington Post
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (deceased), editor, former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
  • Sean ‘P.Diddy’ (formerly known as Puffy) Combs, RAP mega-star
  • Anne Frank, famous diarist from world war II
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  • Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder, AMAZON.COM
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
  • T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
  • Julia Child, famous chef, star of many TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks
  • Elizabeth Berridge, actress (Constanze in Amadeus)
  • Kami Cotler, actress (youngest child on long-running series The Waltons)
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, actors

Famous people who chose Montessori schools for their own children:

  • Stephen J. Cannell, TV writer-producer-director (The Rockford Files and many others)
  • Patty Duke Austin, actress
  • Cher Bono, singer-actress
  • John Bradshaw, psychologist and author
  • Yul Brynner (dec.), actor
  • Marcy Carcy, TV producer
  • Bill & Hillary Clinton, former president/senator, NY
  • Michael Douglas, actor
  • Shari Lewis (dec.), puppeteer
  • Yo Yo Ma, cellist

Others with a Montessori Connection:

  • Alexander Graham Bell (dec.), noted inventor, and his wife Mabel founded the Montessori Education Assocation in 1913. They also provided financial support directly to Dr. Montessori and helped establish the first Montessori class in Canada and one of the first in the United States
  • Mister Rogers, children’s TV personality, strong supporter of Montessori education
  • Thomas Edison, noted scientist and inventor, helped found a Montessori school
  • President Wilson’s daughter trained as a Montessori teacher. There was a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House during Wilson’s presidency
  • Alice Waters, restauranteur and writer, is a former Montessori teacher
  • Bruno Bettelheim (dec.), noted psychologist/author, was married to a Montessori teacher.
  • Erik Erikson (dec.), noted anthropologist/author, had a Montessori teaching certificate.
  • Jean Piaget (dec.), 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

Interesting list, isn’t it?


gaye mullen
Tue 05th Feb 2008 at 1:16 pm

i have taught montessori for 25 yrs i never knew so many famous people you mentioned went to montessori schools.i so believe in the montessori approah to life. thanks gaye

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