Recently, Harvard Business Review did a study of successful innovative business leaders to better understand how these people think - and identify how creativity was nurtured in their lives. In the summary of traits associated with this research, the authors noted that it was interesting that many of these business leaders attended Montessori schools. The researchers stated, "We also believe that the most innovative entrepreneurs were very lucky to have been raised in an an atmosphere where inquisitiveness was encouraged. We were struck by the stories they told about being sustained by people who cared about experimentation and exploration. Sometimes these people were relatives, but sometimes they were neighbors, teachers or other influential adults. A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity. To paraphrase the famous Apple campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different)." (Fryer, 2009)
This is a wonderful validation of evidence we see in our classrooms every day. Children are encouraged to follow their curiosity and deeply explore things that interest them. They have freedom to investigate the classroom, the materials, their thoughts, their dreams and are encouraged to ask questions to help their understanding. Learning in this way engages the child in their own learning process - which as validated in research studies such as this - leads to lifelong results.