Early childhood education plays an important role in future success, but parents currently wondering where their little ones will learn their ABCs may not realise just how much of a determinant the style of that education plays in their children's career trajectory. That may seem like an overblown statement - but all the evidence indicates it's true. In a country where public school is the norm, the majority of famous entrepreneurs got their start in private Montessori classrooms.
Montessori schools: The philosophy
What sets Montessori schools apart from traditional classrooms is that they’re child directed. Rather than being structured by age, with classes conducted based on a standard curriculum, Montessori schools teach children based on individual interests
and motivation. And even as students age, competition is discouraged; in fact, it doesn’t even really make sense. Why compete when classmates don’t share the same goals or motivations?
Of course, the modern startup scene is actually highly competitive, so this may seem like an odd place for successful entrepreneurs to get their starts, but when looked at more closely it makes sense. Certainly, businesses compete for market share when they offer similar products, but entrepreneurs aren’t interested in entering a bloated marketplace. They want to come up with the next great idea, the thing no one else has thought about before.
Another advantage that Montessori schools offer to their students is the opportunity to problem solve creatively
and independently. From an early age, children are encouraged to seek the tools they need to care for their environment and to take the lead in the classroom. Because teachers step back and allow children to determine the path they’ll take, these children grow into adults who can see alternative paths and possibilities in a business venture. They aren’t held back by momentary struggles or frustration.Famous faces
So who are all of these mysterious success stories that were launched from Montessori classrooms? You know their names even if you don’t know where they went to school. Jeff Bezos who developed Amazon, Jim Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, and even both of the founding figures behind Google all went to Montessori schools
. And a generation later, other leading creative figures such as the founders of Kickstarter and Threadless are enrolling their children in Montessori programmes. Starting young
Montessori-style education has been around for many decades now, and it’s evolved to keep pace with our modern world – and that includes an acknowledgement of startup culture. Montessori schools today, particularly those serving older children, are more likely to offer opportunities for those students to work in startup-style environments
. They might work in teams in the classroom or even meet with real entrepreneurs in the community. Ultimately, if a student has an idea that inspires and motivates them, they’re encouraged to follow it.
Wider adoption of Montessori-style programming has the potential to foster the drive and creativity of young people like Kirstie-Lea Greyling, an 8-year-old who recently presented at the 2016 SABC Education Innovation Summit
Though not a Montessori student herself, Greyling demonstrates the kind of motivation and drive of a young entrepreneur. Through Montessori, we offer the next generation the resources they need to pilot our constantly evolving world.