What is "Authentic Montessori"?
The name "Montessori" is not trademarked or copyrighted, and any school can bear the name Montessori without adhering to the Montessori method of education. Many schools that call themselves Montessori use some Montessori concepts but largely follow a different or "supplemented" curriculum. Research to evaluate the outcomes of "supplemented" Montessori shows less favorable outcomes than authentic Montessori.
Before deciding on a school for your child, we strongly recommend observing at the school and in the classroom to get a good sense for whether it is the right fit for your family.
In trying to evaluate whether a school is authentic Montessori, the surest way is to understand its relationship to the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). AMI was founded by Maria Montessori and her son, Mario, in 1929 to maintain the integrity of her work and to articulate Montessori philosophy and practice clearly through teacher training.
- Authentic Montessori schools follow the educational principals and practices as outlined by AMI.
- Lead teachers should hold AMI certification or have taught in an AMI school.
- The school should be affiliated with AMI in some way (for example, MIR Head of School Jenny Davidson is on the AMI governing board.)
While there are some "chains" of Montessori schools, the majority are independent schools like MIR. This means you'll want to visit each school you are interested in individually.
"In the Montessori approach, [learning] is all about the activity of the child. The teacher takes on a different role; that is, to provide the right kind of circumstances so that children can be guided to find what they need from what is on offer." -- AMI