Credit Maria Montessori with planting the seeds that led to Google's founding, not to mention its whimsical logo. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company today gives credit where it's due. The behemoth's home search page dedicates the latest creative iteration of its ubiquitous logo to Montessori Schools' namesake.
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are among a stellar list of Montessori School graduates that includes everyone from rival Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame to inventors Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.
Sometimes referred to as the Montessori "method," the school was founded by the Italian physicist and philanthropist as an early childhood development and innovative educational program that gives students wide latitude to develop their creative-thinking and problem-solving skills. With reported graduates as diverse as Hillary and Bill Clinton, noted sociologist Erik Erikson, the Dalai Lama, Helen Keller, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, entertainer/actress Cher and classical cellist Yo Yo Ma, it's not surprising that the Montessori Schools' pedagogical methods have been widely emulated across the globe since its founding in the early 1900s.
A graduate of the University of Rome La Sapienza medical school, Maria Montessori devoted most of her adult life to helping children and mentally challenged young adults learn at an accelerated pace.
It doesn't get more challenging that launching an Internet search engine company during the trough days of the "dotcom bubble." Google's Brin and Page were evidently taught well the meaning of "success." They also learned how to teach. Google fans and detractors may argue about whether the two SEO entrepreneurs are worldly citizens devoted exclusively to peace, harmony and human understanding or simply extraordinarily brilliant opportunists. However, no one can challenge Brin's and Page's devotion to bringing knowledge to the masses through their engineering talents and creative prowess.
As Page told Barbara Walters in an interview on ABC's 20/20, he and partner Brin found immediate common ground at Stanford University because both had attended separate Montessori schools as children.
"We both went to Montessori school," Page told Walters in the 2004 televised interview, "and I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders and being self-motivated and questioning what's going on in the world and doing things a little bit different."
Different, indeed; the company, which the two Montessori grads founded in 1998, has an estimated market cap value today of approximately $225 billion.
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