Maria Montessori stands in many ways as the mother of alternative education. The Italian physician and teacher invented a new kind of school, one with self-directed learning, classrooms with mixed age groups, and no grades. Now… thousands of schools bear her name. These Montessori schools have some very famous alumni, many of which credit the free-flowing classes with teaching them to think differently and allowing them to change the world. Here are 10 of the most prominent.
1. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin
2. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs
3. Dakota Fanning
4. Julia Child
5. Will Wright
6. Jimmy Wales
7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
8. Jeff Bezos
9. Anne Frank
10. Strong supporters
Several notable Americans also greatly supported the movement:
- Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the first practical telephone, helped create the first Montessori school in Canada.
- Thomas Edison, inventor of the incandescent light bulb, kickstarted four such schools.
- PBS host Fred “Mister” Rogers pushed for expanding Montessori education.