Although they were born years apart in 1929 and 1973, Anne Frank and the co-founders of Google share an important educational link. They all went to Montessori schools as young children. And Montessori education played a significant role in each of their lives.
For Anne Frank, author of the WWII diary Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Montessori education was a perfect match for her intelligence and temperament.
Tim Seldin, president of The Montessori Foundation, wrote about Anne Frank in his latest newsletter. He said that Anne attended the 6th Montessori School of Amsterdam from age 3 to 11. She then attended a year at the Montessori Lyceum (high school) until German authorities prohibited Jewish children from attending school with Christian children.
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, said:
Anne was a demanding character. She continually asked questions… When we had visitors, it was difficult to free yourself from her, because everyone and everything interested her… It was good that Anne went to a Montessori School, where each pupil gets a lot of individual attention.
Seldin shows respect for Anne Frank and all Montessori children when he says:
Her diary gives us a glimpse not only of those terrible years, but of the bright spark of humanity, compassion, and maturity that are so often seen among our students.
The Google Guys
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of the Google Internet search engine, say their success didn’t come from drive or intelligence. Instead, they talk about their early years in Montessori school:
We both went to Montessori school, and I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders, being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, and doing things a little bit different that contributed to our success.
One of the greatest strengths of Montessori education is that it allows people like Anne Frank, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin to realize their potential. The freedom to develop at their own pace, ask questions, and think outside the box allows exceptional individuals to be truly exceptional.