Alumni News

There are so many interesting and entrepreneurial Montessori-educated persons making a difference in the world! Just a handful of the more well-known names . . . Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) , Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Time of Cholera), Anne Frank, and of course the Princes William and Harry! The Montessori system of education focuses on fostering independence, service to the community, and definitely independent thinking and the creative expression thereof. Of course, we all know that you don’t have to be famous to be doing something meaningful!  Knysna Montessori School shares some news of our very own alumni who are out there creating their unique success stories . . .

Darren Johnston (class of 2008) is currently working as Assistant Manager at Four Seasons Hotel, Boston; this after completing his MBA.

Lucas Liepner (2008) is part of a specialist team assigned to problem solving at Standard Bank in JHB.

Jessica Crewdson (2009) is a First Officer Pilot flying German and French troops and precious metals from areas in the Sahel, in addition to UN World Food Programme flights. Based in Bamaka, Mali.

Michael Edwards (2012) has completed his BA honours degree in accounting and currently works as an Auditor at KPMG in Cape Town.

Megan Hattingh (2012) has completed her BA honours degree in accounting and currently works at an accounting firm.

Ninsiima Twekye (2012) is currently working as a junior planner in Milnerton / Century City after completing an MA in Urban and Regional Planning.

Candice Yoko (nee Hall, 2012) is currently working as an Intern at KMS whilst completing her BA degree in Psychology. Candice is planning to start her PGCE in Education in 2019.

Christopher Yoko (2012) has completed an MA in DNA profiling and is currently working as a Senior Quality Control analyst at Thermafisher Scientific in the United Kingdom.

Desire Pretorius (2015) is studying third year BA Drama and Theatre at the University of the Free State.


Josh Crewdson:
Josh has taken to his passion like a duck to water and loving his second year at Silwood Culinary School, where he is now busy with his practical blocks and currently at the very zooch La Colombe in Constantia.

James Erasmus:
Uber talented James Erasmus, who started his culinary career way back and also spent some time at La Colombe before he went across to the UK, where he is now a part of the highly acclaimed Michelin 2 star The Ledbury in London – amazing achievement.

Campbell Easton:
KMS congratulates Campbell Easton (KMS Matric 2010) on receiving an award for the best-written script for his student group’s radio show in the broadcasting section of their course. Campbell also produced the show, and has recently completed his second year in a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies and Philosophy at Rhodes University. He is one of only 18 students accepted for a television course in his third year. To view Campbell and his group’s end product, go to and select Democracy

We love to hear from pupils past!

Please send your stories direct to us at the office so that we can keep in touch!

Wise Words

“A child’s work is

to create the man he will become.

An adult works to perfect the environment

but the child works to perfect himself.”

– Maria Montessori




“The most important period of life

is not the age of university studies,

but the first one, the period from birth to six.

For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself,

his greatest implement, is being formed.

… At no other age

has the child greater need of an intelligent help,

and any obstacle that impedes his creative work

will lessen the chance he has

of achieving perfection.”

– Maria Montessori


“… it is not true that I ‘invented’

what is called the Montessori method.

I have studied the child;

I have taken what the child has given me

and expressed it,

and that is what is called

the Montessori method.”

– Maria Montessori

I never teach my pupils;

I only attempt to provide the conditions

in which they can learn.”

– Albert Einstein




“What we want is

to see the child in pursuit of knowledge,

and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

– George Bernard Shaw



Directress: A Montessori Teacher

Every child has an innate drive for development. In order for this drive to be realized, the most fundamental need is independence. We, as loving parents, would like to do everything for our children. Allowing them their space to make mistakes and explore their options is not always easy, but is essential to developing their independence.

Montessori Methodology fosters a child’s independence.  Montessori teachers are known as Directresses.

In a Montessori classroom, a Directress will, for example, sit among the children to demonstrate a Maths concept with specially designed Montessori equipment.  Once the basic concept has been shown, the children are stimulated and free to independently continue exploring it at their own pace and in their own time.

 The job of the Montessori Directress is to move among the children, to observe the progress, inspire, guide, re-direct, encourage and challenge.

The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play… it is work he must do in order to grow up.”        Maria Montessori.



Serving Lunch – Directress Joey Keyser and one of her toddlers serving lunch to her friends.










Famous Montessori Students

JOSHUA BELL – Grammy award-winning violinist and subject of a Pulitzer prize-winning media story
A world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell is thoughtful about the role his music plays in society. In a cultural experiment turned Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, it is Bell’s humility, not his virtuosity, that most inspires. In suspending his fame to explore the true meaning of his work, Bell exhibits Montessori thinking at its best.
“Pearls Before Breakfast” (Washinton Post article)
Wikipedia profile

JEFF BEZOS – Amazon founder
Amazon’s founder, who proudly cites his Montessori roots, is a study in contradictions: analytical and intuitive, careful and audacious, playful and determined. Critics note his extraordinary ability to learn from others, one hallmark of Montessori education.
Business Week article
Wikipedia profile

DAVID BLAINE – Illusionist & magician
David Blaine was a four-year old Montessori student when he fell in love with magic. Today he’s called “the modern day Houdini” by The New York Times, which says, “He’s taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it… [His magic] “operates on an uncommonly personal level.”
David Blaine proifle
Wikipedia profile

T BERRY BRAZELTON – Pediatrician, child psychiatrist, author and harvard medical school professor emeritus
Dr. Brazelton’s positive, child-oriented philosophy of parenting has influenced countless families to raise
children who are “confident, caring, and hungry to learn”. Brazelton attended a Montessori school as a child and now supports Montessori philosophy through his lectures and publications.
The Brazelton Institute
Wikipedia profile

JULIA CHILD – Celebrity chef & author
A student of Mrs Davie’s Montesorri School in Pasadena California, Ms Child exuded a sense of fun and inspired others to try new things in the kitchen. She credits a Montessori background with her manual dexterity—a key feature of her mastery as a chef—and with the love and joy she found in her work.
Wikipedia profile

GEORGE CLOONEY – Academy award-winning actor, director, producer,humanitarian, United nations messenger of peace
Good pre-school pays off: Harvard economists say kindergartners with great teachers earn more later (and are more likely to attend college and own a home) than others. So what defines “good”? Turns out Montessori’s approach—unfolding students, not molding them—guides the most successful teachers. George Clooney? Montessori pre-schooler.
WHYY story (audio)

SEAN “P Diddy” COMBS – Grammy award-winning musician, rap recording artist and ceo of bad boy records
The multi-talented hip hop artist Sean “P Diddy” Combs says he feels fortunate to have attended Mount
Vernon Montessori School during his childhood, recalling that, “I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special”.
Wikipedia profile

JOHN and JOAN CUSACK – Actor and screenwriter, and Academy award-nominated actress, respectively
This sister-brother team, each of whom also has a hefty solo reputation, are not conventional heroes. That the former Montessorians’ work is described as “idiosyncratic”, “offbeat” and “fiercely original” is consistent with their belief in “a kind of Joseph Campbell theory of pursuing bliss. Whatever excites you is what you should be doing”.
Wikipedia profile (John)
Wikipedia profile (Joan)

This internationally-acclaimed American author was once a Montessori student of Post Oak’s Head of School, John Long. The sense of wonder that infuses his luminous, precisely-crafted prose is evidence of the gifts, and the love of nature, that were nurtured in him from childhood.
Am I Still Here? (video)
Wikipedia profile

PETER DRUCKER – Author, Management consultant, “social ecologist”, awarded the presidential medal of freedom
Peter Drucker, once a Montessori child, is one of the most influential management gurus in history. His work focuses on human relationships as opposed to numbers-crunching; his books are filled with lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers can find dignity and community in their work.
Wikipedia profile

ERIK ERIKSON – Psychologist & author
The Danish-German-American psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on human social development, Erikson may be most famous for coining the phrase “identity crisis”. He found Montessori ideas so compelling that studied them as an adult, acquiring a Montessori teaching certificate but never teaching in a classroom.
Wikipedia profile

This youngest-ever Screen Actors Award nominee, history’s youngest Academy member, recalls: “I learned to read at two…in a Montessori school where they teach you to read really, really young.” Montessori kids are not technically taught to read (reading skills just emerge in the right environment, we think), but they work at their own pace in age-diverse groups—not in curriculum-dictated lockstep with same-age peers. For Fanning, autonomy led to early achievement throughout her life.
Wikipedia profile

ANNE FRANK – Memoirist & author
Anne Frank’s famous diary is a natural extension of her school experience. She—like all Montessori students—learned to cultivate observation skills and record her thoughts in a journal early on. Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the best loved books in the world today.
Wikipedia profile

KATHARINE GRAHAM – Pulitzer prize-winning author and Former owner & editor of the Washington Post
Crisis forced Katherine Graham to assume control of the Washington Post. Her confidence faltered but—remembering that what matters is how people learn, not what they know—Graham said, “The Montessori method, learning by doing, once again became my stock in trade.” Her reign at the highly-regarded paper lasted more than two decades.
Wikipedia profile

FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER – Viennese artist & architect
This world-renowned Austrian painter and architect attended a Montessori school in Vienna, which influenced both his affinity for vibrant colors and his love of nature. He collected pebbles and pressed flowers as a child, demonstrating an early interest in small, precious things—which later manifested itself in his work.
Wikipedia profile

HELEN HUNT – Academy award-winning actor
Helen Hunt, winner of some big time honors (Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe all one year—a feat nearly unmatched in history) is one cool Montessorian. Which makes her observation all the more interesting: “If there’s a message, it’s that the unlovable and unattractive parts of ourselves should be embraced. The only real currency between people is what happens when they’re not cool.”
Wikipedia profile

HELEN KELLER – Political activist, author, lecturer, awarded the presidential medal of freedom, one of gallup’s most widely admired people of the 20th century
Maria Montessori said that if, deaf and blind, Helen Keller became “a woman and writer of exceptional culture, who better than she proves the potency of [the Montessori] method?” In her tribute to Montessori, Helen’s teacher observes, “Only through freedom can people develop self control, self dependence, willpower and initiative. This is the lesson Helen’s education has for the world.”
Anne Sullivan’s tribute to Montessori
Wikipedia profile

BEYONCE KNOWLES – Singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer,16-time Grammy award-winner
In Houston, at St. Mary of the Purification Montessori, Beyoncé’s talents first emerged. In a school that valued both art and academics, a top student and world-class performer was born. Today Beyoncé has been nominated for more Grammys than anyone in history and is one of pop music’s most highly-regarded figures.
Wikipedia profile

YO YO MA – United nations Peace Ambassador, winner of 15 Grammy Awards, Presidential Medal of Freedom & National Medal of the Arts
A child prodigy cellist and Montessori student, Yo Yo Ma learned to early to follow his own interests and think outside traditional definitions. Today, critics call his artistic style “omnivorous” in reference to his versatility, his notably eclectic repertoire and his musical iconoclasm.
Wikipedia profile

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ – Nobel prize-winning author
Marquez said his Montessori education gave him “the desire to kiss literature” and states, “I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life.”
Wikipedia profile

HM QUEEN NOOR of JORDAN – U.N. Advisor, humanitarian activist, memoirist and wife of the late king hussein of Jordan
Her Majesty Queen Noor is an international public servant and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice. Her orientation toward peace directly reflects Maria Montessori’s—herself a three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee whose “education for peace” philosophy underpins our approach.
King Hussein Foundation profile
Wikipedia profile

JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS – Former first lady and doubleday editor
As a child, the former First Lady attended Miss Chapin’s School for Girls in Manhattan. Miss Chapin was a pioneer in education for girls; she attended Dr Montessori’s New York lectures in the 1930s and enthusiastically included Montessori methods in her classrooms.
Wikipedia profile

SERGEY BRIN & LARRY PAGE – Google founders
“You can’t understand Google,” says Wired, “unless you know [its founders] were Montessori kids… In a Montessori school, you paint because you have something to express or you just want to… not because the teacher said so. This is baked into Larry and Sergey… it’s how their brains were programmed early on.”
Wired article
Wall St Journal article
Breakthrough Learning in the Digital Age (video)
Barbara Walters interview (video)

DEVI SRIDHAR – Youngest-ever American Rhodes scholar, author, oxford research fellow, oxford lecturer on global health politics
At 18, Devi Sridhar (a former Montessorian) spoke five languages, played both tennis and the violin expertly, and co-wrote a book on Indian mythology. In 2002 she became the youngest Rhodes Scholar in the program’s 100-year history. Interested in health as a young person, she now directs CEG’s global health governance project.
Devi Sridhar profile

TAYLOR SWIFT – Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter
Taylor Swift, country music’s youngest-ever Entertainer of the Year, attended Alvernia Montessori School in Berks County Pa. The singer is widely described as “the product of homegrown values”; New York Times calls her “one of pop’s finest songwriters, country music’s foremost pragmatist, and more in touch with her inner life than most adults”.
Wikipedia profile

WILL WRIGHT – Video game pioneer, creator of the Sims
The videogame innovator says Montessori was the “imagination amplifier” that prepared him for creating The Sims, Sim City, Spore and Super Mario Brothers. “SimCity comes right out of Montessori… It’s all about learning on your own terms.”
Montessori: Inspiration for Spore (video)
New Yorker article
Wikipedia profile