Anyone searching through Google’s main page yesterday would have seen the lovely acknowledgement of the 142nd anniversary of Maria Montessori’s birth in the form of the Google Doodle. Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, were both educated in Montessori schools (Brin attended a Montessori elementary program) and they have both been vocal in their praise of Montessori education and the effect that it continues to have on their adult lives.
In a recent Newsweek article, former Google executive and recently appointed Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer says, “You can’t understand Google, unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kids.”
Brin and Page’s description of this influence can be found in a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor which profiles a number of Montessori graduates:
In 2004, ABC’s Barbara Walters asked Larry Page and Sergey Brin about the secret to their success. Both Mr. Page and Mr. Brin had college professors for parents. She wondered if that familial connection to learning played into their success. They said no. Their parents helped, but really their Montessori education was the key. Brin and Page specifically pointed to the curriculum of self-directed learning – where students follow their interests and decide for themselves what they want to learn.
“I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders, and being self motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world and doing things a little bit differently,” says Page, who’s now CEO of Google.
Parents may also be interested in this recent Globe and Mail article. In it, a number of executives describe their success and the joy they find in their work as an outgrowth of their Montessori years.
Carlos Consoli, a senior consultant at IBM Global Business Services sees the Montessori method enriching his work on a daily basis:
“Children tend to learn. They’re not lazy,” Mr. Consoli says, echoing Dr. Montessori’s core belief. “Today at work, I still have that get-your-job-from-the-shelf-and-have-fun-with-it attitude. When I start a new project, there’s that same period of choosing the material and feeling free to explore new pathways, and interrelating the materials as it occurs to me. As a result, I often end up suggesting a correlation that others missed.”