Montessori History

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old.

Maria Montessori began to develop her philosophy and methods in 1897, attending courses in pedagogy at the University of Rome and reading the educational theory of the previous two hundred years. In 1907, she opened her first classroom, the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in a tenement building in Rome.

From the beginning, Montessori based her work on her observations of children and experimentation with the environment, materials, and lessons available to them. She frequently referred to her work as "scientific pedagogy". Montessori education spread to the United States in 1911 and became widely known in education and popular publications.

However, conflict between Montessori and the American educational establishment, and especially the publication in 1914 of a critical booklet, The Montessori System Examined by influential education teacher William Heard Kilpatrick, limited the spread of her ideas, and they languished after 1914.

Montessori education returned to the United States in 1960 and has since spread to thousands of schools there. Montessori continued to extend her work during her lifetime, developing a comprehensive model of psychological development from birth to age 24, as well as educational approaches for children ages 0 to 3, 3 to 6, and 6 to 12. She wrote and lectured about ages 12 to 18 and beyond, but these programs were not developed during her lifetime.

Montessori Resources

What is Montessori?

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori.

Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural PSYCHOLOGICAL development, as well as technological advancements in society. Although a range of practices exists under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:

- Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common

- Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options Uninterrupted blocks of work time

- A CONSTRUCTIVISM or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction

- Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators


Montessori Resource

- Association Montessori Internationale -- Official Website of the International Montessori Society. The Association Montessori Internationale was founded in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori to maintain the integrity of her life's work, and to ensure that it would be perpetuated after her death.
- American Montessori Society Official Website of the American Montessori Society AMS is a non-profit, non-discriminatory service organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting the use of the Montessori teaching approach in private and public schools.

- Montessori method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

- The Montessori Method
The full text with illustrations from: The Montessori Method (1912) by Maria Montessori, translated by Anne Everett George. Hosted by UPenn digital library.

- The Montessori Philosophy - Website devoted to Montessori schools in California, but with a good summary of Montessori Philosophy and Method.

- Montessori -- Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs from the Michael Olaf Montessori Company. Dr. Olaf is a world renowned expert in Early Childhood Development, and has written frequently and extensively about Montessori Method.


  • Videos

    There are several excellent videos describing and discussing Montessori Education available on the World Wide Web. On the Greater Atlanta Montessori School, we've included links to a few, but we'd recommend you search sources like Youtube for additional videos. Seeing children in action and hearing a dedicated teacher narrate an episode often conveys the Method and Philosophy of Montessori education in a subtle and eloquent way that mere prose can't convey. Here are the links to the videos we have included in our web site:


    Recommended Reading:

    Books written by Dr. Maria Montessori

    • The Absorbent Mind
    • The Advanced Montessori Method, Vol. 1: Spontaneous Activity in Education
    • The Advanced Montessori Method, Vol. 2: Materials for Education Elementary
    • California Lectures of Maria Montessori, 1915: Collected Speeches and Writings
    • The Child in the Family
    • From Childhood to Adolescence
    • The Discovery of the Child
    • To Educate the Human Potential
    • Education and Peace
    • The Formation of Man
    • The Montessori Method
    • The Secret of Childhood

    Books written about Dr. Montessori and Montessori Method

    • Education for Human Development, by Mario M. Montessori, Jr.
    • The Montessori Approach to Discipline, by Lena L. Gitter
    • Maria Montessori, by Rita Kramer
    • Maria Montessori: Her life and Work, by E.M.Standing
    • Montessori From the Start (Birth to Three), by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn
      Lillard Jesse
    • Montessori Insights for Parents of Young Children, by Aline D. Wolf
    • Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education, by
      Trevor Eissler
    • Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius, by Angeline Stoll Lillard
    • Montessori Today (Elementary Program), by Paula Polk Lillard

    Other Books on Education and Parenting

    • Between Parent and Child, by Haim Ginott
    • Between Teacher and Child, by Haim Ginott
    • Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, by Alfie Kohn
    • A Family of Value, by John Rosemond
    • Family Building, by John Rosemond
    • John Rosemond's Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, by John
    • Parent Power, by John Rosemond
    • Punished by Rewards: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentives Plans, A's,
      Praise, and Other Bribes,
      by Alfie Kohn
    • What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated?, by Alfie Kohn
    • A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink