Does the Montessori approach nurture creativity?

Creativity is considered one of the most important skills for childhood development as it contributes to an individual’s problem-solving and innovative abilities.

In 2011, Peter Sims published an article in the Wall Street Journal in which he coined the term ‘Montessori Mafia’ to identify a creative elite of very famous and successful individuals in various sectors of endeavour who shared a Montessori background.

The Montessori Mafia Article

Here are a few of the people who belong to the Montessori Mafia:

  • Jimmy Wales – Founder of Wikipedia
  • Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon
  • Sergey Brin – Co-Founder of Google
  • Larry Page – Co-Founder of Google

We both went to Montessori school, and I think it was part of that training … of being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit different.”

— Larry Page, Interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters (2004)

  • Prince William – English Royal Family
  • Prince Harry – English Royal Family
  • Chelsea Clinton – American writer & Global Health Advocate
  • George Clooney – Academy Award Winning Actor
  • Anne Frank – World War II Diarist
  • Friedensreich Hundertwasser – World War II Austrian Painter & Architect
  • Dakota Fanning – Award-Winning Actor
  • Anne Hathaway – Academy Award Winning Actor
  • Will Wright – Designer of The Sims
  • David Blaine – Illusionist
  • Eric Cornel – Nobel Prize Winner (Physics)
  • Katharine Graham – Former Owner-Editor of the Washington Post.

“The Montessori method – learning by doing— once again became my stock in trade…”

– Katharine Graham, Personal History (1997)

  • Sean Combs (Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs) – RAP Mega-Star
  • Julia Child – Chef, numerous cookbooks author, and  star of many TV cooking shows
  • Steven Hughes – Paediatric Neuropsychologist & Montessori Advocate
  • Helen Hunt – Academy Award Winning Actor
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize Winner (Literature)

It took me a long time to learn to read. It did not seem logical to me that the letter “m” was called “eme”… It was impossible for me to read like that.

Finally, when I arrived at Montessori, the teacher did not teach me the names but the sounds of the consonants. So I could read the first book I found in a dusty chest … It was unstitched and incomplete but it absorbed me in a very intense way.

– Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  Living to Tell the Tale (2002)

  • Beyoncé Knowles – Singer Songwriter & Actor
  • Joshua Bell – Violinist & Owner of Stradivarius Violin
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – Former Editor & Former First Lady (John F. Kennedy)
  • Berry Brazelton – Paediatrician & Author
  • Melissa Gilbert – Actor
  • Sarah Gilbert – Actor
  • Yo Yo Ma – Cellist
  • Alan Rickman – Actor
  • Taylor Swift – Grammy Award Winner Singer
  • Peter Drucker – Management Guru (often considered ‘the inventor of modern management’)

For thousands of years people have been talking about improving teaching — to no avail. It was not until the early years of this century, however, that an educator asked, “What is the end product?” Then the answer was obvious: It is not teaching. It is, of course, learning. And then the same educator, the great Italian doctor and teacher Maria Montessori (1870-1952), began to apply systematic analysis of the work and systematic integration of the parts into a process.”

– Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1973)