Montessori FAQs

Q. How did Montessori come to be?
Answer:Mon·tes·so·ri pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee, named for its founder Maria Montessori, 1870-1952. She was an Italian physician and educator who developed methods for educating children based on the developing child’s initiative, sense and muscle training, and freedom through prepared materials and games. She designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities.

Q. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
Answer: The Montessori method emphasizes learning through all five senses—not just through listening, watching, or reading. Montessori children learn at their own pace and choose which lessons to participate in. Older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger students, representing a different approach to traditional education.

Please see Montessori-at-a-Glance for a more detailed comparison.

Q. Who accredits or oversees Montessori Schools?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no way to limit the use of the name “Montessori.” The name is not protected and can be used by any organization with or without the credentials of Teacher/Educator who is certified to teach the Montessori Methods. Parents are strongly encouraged to research credentials and observe a classroom in operation in order to choose a real Montessori School for their child(ren).

There are several Montessori organizations to which schools can belong. The two major associations in the U.S. are Association Montessori International (AMI-USA) and American Montessori Society (AMS). Parents should ask about school affiliations.

North End Montessori is an active member of the American Montessori Society.

Q. What special training do Montessori teachers have?
Answer: Anyone can legally use the name “Montessori” in describing their teacher training organization. Therefore it is important that certification is earned from organizations that are aligned with the two major organizations offering Montessori training in the U.S.—AMI-USA and AMS.

Most training centers require a bachelor’s degree for admission. Training ranges from 200 to 600 pre-service contact hours and covers principles of child development and Montessori philosophy as well as specific uses of the Montessori classroom materials.

Q. What is the best way to choose a Montessori School for my child(ren)?
Answer: Determine which organization the school is affiliated with. Ask what kind of training the educators have. Visit the school and observe the classroom in action. Ask the teacher to explain the principals and theories of the activities you observed. Most importantly, talk to the prospective teacher about his/her philosophy of child development and education to determine whether it is compatible with your own.

Q. Are Montessori schools religious?
Answer: Some are, but most are not.North End Montessori School is independent of any religious affiliation.