Have you ever met individuals who knew from an early age what they wanted to do with their lives? I blogged about a friend of mine, rocket scientist Stacy Weinstein, some years ago. Last year we invited her, along with our Middle School and Upper Elementary students, into a Skype session from her office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Listening to her describe her work with NASA and space travel was absolutely fascinating for many of the children. Stacy was also raised as a Montessori kid and attributes a great deal of her success to her early education.
Last month a similar story appeared in a Minnesota newspaper, about a 5th grade Montessori student, Austin McCoy, who was inspired by a molecular biologist at the Mayo Clinic who visited the student's classroom back in 2009. “Austin had 300 questions and they were all footnoted," the scientist and mentor remembered. The two then worked together, even traveling to India for a conference. Fast forward to 2018, and Austin is now a freshman at the premier engineering university in the nation, CalTech in Pasadena.
One never knows which subjects or presentations will resonate with children, which is why Dr. Montessori encouraged her teachers to give children the "universe." The life within the child will light up his or her internal compass to help choose the right path. And in Montessori classrooms, where children follow their interests from a very young age, the likelihood of discovering a life's work increases exponentially.