Page 1

VOLUME 15, ISSUE 1 | 2013

Ever wish for something to hand out at community events or open houses that easily explained or visually showed some aspect of Montessori that didn’t overwhelm the reader? Who better than the people who wrote the book, The Montessori Way, to introduce such a product!

Three Pamphlets Now Available in Spanish!

NINE Montessori pamphlets now available. Use the form below to order.

Each pamphlet bundle contains 50 of the same title and is incredibly affordable at $15 USD per bundle plus postage. The items are in stock and ready to ship. They may be purchased the following ways: 1. Through our online publication center located at the Foundation’s website: (go right into the ‘bookstore’ tab) 2. By calling Margot at 800 632 4121 (IMC school members receive a discount on this item and will need to call with credit card. Should your IMC school membership need to be renewed, we will do that at the same time.) 3. Use this order form and either mail or fax your order. Make checks payable to: The Montessori Foundation and mail to 19600 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Fax number is 941 359 8166. Please select: USPS Flat Rate Priority or expedited courier service, such as FEDEX/UPS, which can be substantially more expensive (price is determined by weight and location by the courier). We will estimate this for you before charging out). Couriers cannot deliver to a PO BOX. 1. What is Montessori? ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

2. Why would you start your three-year-old in school? ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

3. Montessori Nurtures Curiosity, Creativity & Imagination

_____#of bundles @$15 Total due $_______

4. What can Montessori offer our infants & toddlers?

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

5. Creating a Culture of Partnership, Kindness, Respect & Peace

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

6. The Importance of Montessori for Kindergarten ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

7. Joyful Scholars: Montessori for the Elementary Years

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

8. Research & Montessori

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

9. Montessori in the Home

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

Shipping Method: ❑ USPS FLAT RATE PRIORITY ❑ COURIER (FedEx/UPS) ❑ 1 - 3 bundles $5.95 ❑ 4 - 12 bundles $10.95 ❑ 13+ bundles $12.95


Shipping Amount $______ $______

IMC membership number ___________ for discounted pricing of $12.50 per bundle. To obtain shipping-cost information for orders outside US, call 941-309-3961 or email: (Note: We do not accept Discover cards.) Credit card#___________________________ Name on Card____________________________________Exp. date_________ EMAIL address where receipt should be sent___________________________________________________ (please print clearly) Mailing address and name of contact person___________________________________________________ (please print clearly) Phone number in case we have a question(_____) ______________________________________________ SAMPLES ARE $1.00 EACH PLUS $1.44 S&H (US) ($2.44 CANADA) (S&H APPLIES FOR UP TO NINE BROCHURES). CIRCLE: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


©Tomorrow’s Child Magazine November 2012 •

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

Montessori Leadership is the official magazine of the International Montessori Council, a non-profit organization. The opinions expressed in Montessori Leadership editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or the IMC. Acceptance of advertising does not represent endorsement of any product or service. The International Montessori Council does NOT grant permission to reprint material from Montessori Leadership in any other form (e.g., book, newsletter, journal). Copies of this issue or back issues are available for purchase online at . Copyright 2013 by The International Montessori Council. All rights reserved.

Chair Tim Seldin, M.Ed Editor Joyce St. Giermaine

Montessori Leadership Features 4

An Outline for an Anthropological Study of Place

Art Director/IMC Membership Director/ Conference Coordinator and Bookstore Manager: Margot Garfield-Anderson 800 632 4121 Phone 941 309 3961/FAX: 941 359 8166

by Paul Epstein, Ph.D.


Scope & Sequence:

The Hope and Opportunity It Brings


Workbooks: Is there a place for them in classic

Article submissions and consulting: Hillary Drinkell IMC Accreditation Director 800 655 5843 and Sharon Caldwell

Montessori Education?

by Susan Cusack

by Sharon Caldwell 13 5 Dangerous Behaviors

For immediate service, use our secure online bookstore at For questions regarding an order, email: Subscriptions & Bookkeeping Don Dinsmore Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email: Classified & Display Advertising Chelsea Howe Phone: 410-504-3872 Fax: 941-745-3111

by Maren Stark Schmidt

14 What is Childhood?

Layout & Design Katrina Costedio Tomorrow’s Child Online: The Montessori Family Connection Lorna McGrath Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email:

by Matthew Rich 16 Thoughts on Maria Montessori by Cooper Zale 20 Nutrition for Learning by Jan Katzen-Luchenta 21 New IMC Accreditation by Hillary Drinkell 22 Lamination Study: Vocabulary Cards

in the Montessori Primary Classroom by Julia Volkman

25 Montessori Community Work in the Pacific Northwest by Dee Hirsch Correction from last issue: Seeing Red Flags in the Classroom was written by Meg Thomas not Meg Caldwell.

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Š Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


by Paul Epstein, Ph.D.


our-year-old Gita sits on Bhola Dhital’s porch in the

Paul sir, I have just five children. For me, it is very challenging that

Nepalese village of Kharpa. From Kathmandu, access

most of the schools that have used “Montessori” in their name are run

to Kharpa is either a six- or seven-day trek through

by very rich persons, and they don’t have a Montessori environment.

the mountains or a 35-minute flight to a grassy airfield fol-

People have misconceptions on Montessori education. They think that

lowed by a three-hour walk. There is neither electricity nor

it is just for rich people. For the beginning, it will be very difficult. If

running water in the village. The children do not have toys to

I could bring any good result, only then parents would find the differ-

play with; they care for livestock and tend gardens by the time

ences. For one year, I think that it will be difficult time for me….My

they are two years old. Most children cannot attend school;

family sends Namaskar to you.

they live two, three, and four hours walking distance from the government school. Bhola, a government-employed teacher

Bhola’s story is about passion, persistence, and calling. To

during the past twenty years, decided to resolve this issue in

fathom his fortitude, courage, and dignity requires knowing

1998 by building a boarding school with his life-long friend,

Kharpa and Kathmandu. In his service to children, and to

Gita’s father.

build a Montessori school, Bhola struggled to alter the cultural conditions of these places. Eventually he closed his school; he

One afternoon, while we cut bamboo to make math materi-

could not build a sustaining enrollment. Bhola could not over-

als, Gita climbed up on the porch and spontaneously sorted

come a deeply rooted cultural belief: women, not men, care

the large pile by color: green, blue, and red. No presenta-

for young children. An anthropological study of place exam-

tion had been made; there was no prepared environment.

ines what it means to be human and how humans develop,

Gita’s concentration was incredible; her movements precise.

maintain, and evolve their places in terms of cultural relation-

She sorted for almost thirty minutes. I was speechless, and

ships. Anthropological study itself is a profound and humbling

moved to tears. Perhaps Dr. Montessori witnessed this in San


Lorenzo. Reflecting years later on her 1907 experience, she wrote: “What was the wonder due to? No one could state it

How do we present to adolescents the social organization

clearly. But it conquered me forever, because it penetrated my

they now experience and understand as social newborns? It

heart as a new light. One day I looked at them with eyes which

has been suggested that humanity estranged itself from place

saw them differently and I asked myself: ‘Who are you? Are

with the invention of agriculture, which, contrary to a hunt-

you the same children you were before?” (Montessori, 1942).

ing/gathering subsistence economy, led to increased division

The school opened during the fall of 1998; 150 children were

of labor, specialization, greater urbanization, industrialization,

enrolled and living at the school a year later. The Maoists came

exploitation of place for raw manufacturing materials, and

to the village in 2003 and took over the school. Bhola and

global warming. “Society,” wrote Montessori (1976), “has not

his family were forced to leave his ancestral home and flee to

only developed into state of utmost complication and extreme

Kathmandu. In 2007, Bhola left his family and completed a

contrasts, but it has now come to a crisis in which the peace of

one-year Montessori training course in India. Upon returning

the world and civilization itself are threatened” (p. 97).

to Kathmandu, he opened his Montessori school in the winter of 2008. Bhola described his challenges in an email.

This scenario is ever present today; the social speed of change fueled by a global web of technology presents the future


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

as ever changing. Anchored to place

Place provides lenses through which to

would seem to be that more neces-

examine ourselves and our progress as

sary and urgent. What relationships to

we design social organizations and tools

place should adolescents engage in from

to solve our basic human needs and ask

which to develop as morally and ethi-

ethical questions about our earth-shap-

cally responsible members of a changing

ing decisions. A place, wrote David Orr


(as cited in Kahn, 2001), “can be understood only on its terms as a complex

Montessori (1976) described the indi-

mosaic of phenomena and problems.”

vidual at the threshold of the fourth plane

(p. 157) Ludick (2001) examined place

of development as a “formed person”

in terms of its particularity, power, pos-

interested in the “mission of humanity”

sibilities, and pedagogy. She understood

(p. 131). An anthropology study of place

the adolescent “in terms of their spiritual

can help ready the older adolescent (15

sensitivities” and imagines “their senso-

– 18 years old) for this interest through a

rial and enchanted response to a sense of

comprehensive examination of human-

place.” (Ludick, 2001, p. 158) A place

ity both through time – our pre-hominid

calls to the adolescents’ tendencies for

origins and our progress from hunting

exploration, orientation, imagination,

gathering to modern civilizations – and

and order and provides a frame of ref-

place. In principle, the older adolescent

erence with which to understand their

has experienced occupations, humani-

personal experiences: “Since the aspect

ties, micro-economies, creative and

of community is so strong in our ado-

relationship of their lives to what seem

physical expressions, and community

lescent programs, the young people can

to be timeless and universal patterns and

service in a Montessori middle school

begin to sense that they are definitely

themes.” (Ludick, 2001, p. 160)

prepared environment. From these, the

linked to a larger community, loosely

adolescent would know a place and have

defined by geography and by social and

Such patterns and themes occur as cul-

developed self-knowledge derived from

economic factors.” (Ludick, 2001, p.

ture. The Montessori high school student

engaging and contributing through


has, of course, already studied culture. Work in the Casa includes cultural boxes

experiences of production and exchange. While a place is studied in terms of

By identifying with the values, aspira-

with artifacts, pictures, and clothing.

its history, geology, ecology, politics,

tions, and history of a place, the ado-

The children enjoy foods from cultures

economics, religion, psychology, and

lescent (through experience) comes to

that are not their own. Their activities

anthropology, the focus is on place and

understand the people in that place and

are sensorial in nature and involve simple

not on the study of the academic dis-

about himself. “It is all about, wrote

classification. Children in the elemen-

ciplines. “Place,” wrote Kahn (2001),

Ludick (2001), “increasing their aware-

tary program engage in larger studies of

“inspires history. Place allows for respon-

ness of society, which in turn is all about

humanity involving, for example, time-

sibilities to arise within the perimeter of

the development of understanding and

lines of evolution, impressionistic charts,

that place, where students develop own-

empathy in relation to society.” (p. 160)

and studies of the fundamental needs.

ership whether it be city school or farm,

The adolescent, by experiencing and

These activities situate Homo sapiens

neighborhood or small town, cosmic

understanding place in this way, has had

in a “cosmic perspective.” The middle

or microcosmic….Place is where we

an ethnographic, anthropological expe-

school adolescent continues to study

live….Place is a context to which the

rience. “[Places] allow the adolescent to

culture with pedagogy of place projects,

adolescent feels he or she both belongs

explore one of the profound mysteries

occupations, humanities, micro-econ-

and contributes.” (p. 152)

of their human existence: the personal

omies, and community services. The

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


young adolescent’s growing understand-

less dependent on group identity.” (p.

norms as cultural forms of social life. It

ing of social life centers around prin-

264) She observed that the 15-18 year

is an interdisciplinary study of family,

ciples of production and exchange and

old showed more initiative and respon-

geographical, political, religious, eco-

the impact of our supra-nature capabili-

sibility; they approach business enter-

nomic, and educational systems. The

ties. The high school adolescent, with a

prises with more of an entrepreneurial

study occurs locally and moves outwards

greater meta-cognitive capability, is now

approach and develop small partnerships

across theoretical constructs to the

ready for a larger endeavor.

to benefit both the venture and the part-

global international. Hutchinson (1998)

ners involved. They also take their efforts

summarized an anthropological orienta-

What interior landscapes have they

out into the world. The older adolescent

tion to the local community:

formed from their prior work? Can

had a greater meta-cognitive capability,

they hear the soul in the stories people

reasons more logically, evaluates state-

Within an ecological model of place, the

tell about place, for place is of course

ments, and questions established systems

local community – whether it be a met-

more than a locus for production and

(Engelfried, 2006, p. 267).

ropolitan city, a small town, a village, or a farming community – is viewed as an

exchange. Anthropologist Keith Basso


(2000) presented a Western Apache

The older adolescent is ready for anthro-

ecosystem with feedback connections

gestalt of place and quoted an informant,

pologically guided experience. Montes-

that ingrate the infrastructure of the

“The land is always stalking people.

sori (1948/1976) outlined a curricular

community and its institutions, market

The land makes people live right. The

response to the needs of the older ado-

economies, cultural groups, and other

land looks after us. The land looks after

lescent and suggested studies of “that

features with the natural and build envi-

people.” (p. 41) What expressions of

which deals with the effect on human-

ronments that define the community’s

place do adolescents make?

ity of the geographical environment, of

living space. Learning how communities

contact between different peoples, of

function as ecosystems can help children

Montessori (1948/1976) described the

intermarriage of races, and the assimi-

to appreciate more fully the biological

adolescent generally in terms of a state

lation of special cultures.” (p. 119). She

and cultural interdependencies which

of expectation; a tendency towards cre-

also observed the adolescent needs to

sustain their living space and the living

ative work; a need for strengthening

form “an understanding of the society

space of other species. To know one’s

self-confidence; a sensitivity to rude-

which he is about to enter to play his

place is to have an intimate knowledge

ness and humiliation; and, developing

part as a man.” (Montessori, 1976, p. 98)

of the local environment (both natural

a sense of justice and personal dignity.

Anthropology seeks to understand soci-

and built) and the various professional

Engelfried (2006) contrasted the quali-

ety. As an experiential course of study,

roles, shared histories, and interdepen-

ties of younger adolescents (12-15) and

anthropology would guide older adoles-

dent relationships that sustain the com-

older adolescents (15-18) and noted an

cents to “learn more about themselves

munity over the long term. (p. 129)

increased self-reliance, a desire to pres-

and their potential to contribute to soci-

ent talents and ideas to the larger world,

ety” (Engelfried, 2006, p. 269). “The

The adolescent encounters the ecosys-

a greater tolerance of failure and shortfall

study of anthropology,” wrote Feldman

tem of the community’s living space

in others and self, a concern for indi-

and Moudry (2008), “capitalizes on the

experientially. The experiential activi-

vidual justice, and an increased ability

sensitivities of adolescents for difference

ties engage the adolescent in critical

to analyze and apply ideas and opin-

and desire to explore and experience

thought and analysis, and in presenta-

ions. Engelfried (2006) concluded, “as

views and norms that vary greatly from

tions of these to a larger audience.

the personality develops and becomes

their native exposure.” (p. 3) Anthro-

increasingly defined, the individual gains

pology offers methodologies and theo-

Envisioned, next, is an Anthropological

a more realistic perspective between self

retical constructs with which to exam-

Study of Place for students enrolled in a

and other and at the same time becomes

ine different world views and behavioral

Montessori high school. The primary

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

outcome for this course of study is for students to (1) develop, through ethnographic experiences, an appreciation of how culture informs understanding and constrains social interaction, and (2) engage in social change. ThE LEArnIng SpACES

• Communication, language, and symbolism.

• The family – kinship, marriage customs, and residence.

• Economic systems of

production and exchange.

• Political systems, power,

authority, and leadership.


• Technology. • Cultural belief systems –

From the inside out, learning occurs

• Cultural change – migration,


religion and magic.

within each individual student. But learn-

acculturation, assimilation.

ing is also a social experience and enterprise. The high school serves is a “home base,” as a location for classes, project

Ethnographic methodologies for students are readily available (Epstein, 2012; Fetterman, 2010; Flick, 2009; Spradley, 1979). An additional guiding methodology for the anthropological study of place is known as appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005). Appreciation builds from meaningful engagement. Appreciative inquiry builds upon an understanding of production and exchange as transactional. While these daily experiences form a necessary functional basis for social organization, the human experience is trans-


development, seminars, reflection, and

formational. To know a place, and to be formed by that knowing, occurs when humans are being. The older adolescent

more. The course would connect with

Interview and observe “culture.”

can relate to such expressions of human,

local specialists who would offer com-

Students can evolve an empathetic under-

noble work. “This is the true joy in life,”

munity resources and cultural centers

standing of the perspectives of others.

wrote George Bernard Shaw, “the being

for a wide range of experiential learning

They may ask, how do the people of this

used for a purpose recognized by your-

activities. Local resources may include

place make sense of themselves, what

self as a mighty one; the being a force of

universities, museums, botanical gardens,

they do, and others?

nature instead of a feverish, selfish little

historical societies, art and music centers,

clod of ailments and grievances com-

and industry. Students can develop and

Work and understand locally. Students

plaining that the world will not devote

complete apprenticeships and internships

engage in studies of the geography, ecol-

itself to making you happy.”

as they learn and contribute to the place

ogy, politics, religions, and economics of

in which they would study and work.

the place.


on national and international quests. As

Analyze data. Students work with

Basso, K.H. (2000). Stalking with Stories. In B.A.

students should pursue their interests, so

research materials and artifacts to under-

Levinson (Ed.), Schooling the symbolic animal: Social

too should they become entrepreneurially

stand the culture of the place.

and cultural dimensions of education (pp. 41-52).

Travel should occur and take students

responsible for its funding. ThE TOpICS OF


Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,

Write and present an ethnography. Stu-


dents present a description of a local, little

Cooperrider, D.L. & Whitney, D. (2005). Appreciative

community and offer commentary on

inquiry. A positive revolution in change. San Fran-

what it means to be human universally.

cisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Engelfried, G. (2006). “When is it time to grow up?

• Introduction to culture

Incorporate artistic expressions of culture

Contrasting the needs and characteristics of the

and anthropology.

and place through the arts, music, dance,

twelve-to-fifteen year old and the fifteen to eighteen

pottery, sculpture, weaving, and more.

year old.The NAMTA Journal 31.1: 261-270.

• Methodologies – interviews, observations, surveys

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


Epstein, P. (2012). An observer’s notebook. Learning

High School Curriculum Frameworks NAMTA Project

Montessori, M. (1942). How it all happened. Retrieved

from children with the observation C.O.R.E. Sarasota,


January 27, 2013 from,

FL: The Montessori Foundation

Hutchinson, D. (1998) Growing up green. New York:


Fetterman, D.M. (2010). Ethnography. Step-by-step

Teachers College.

Montessori, M. (1976). From childhood to adoles-

(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Kahn, D. (2001). Pedagogy of place: Using the pre-

cence. Trans. A.M. Joosten. Rev. ed. New York: Scho-

Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research

pared environment for the third plane (some brief


(4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

notes). The NAMTA Journal 26.3: 152-153.

Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview.

Feldman, Regina and James Moudry. (2008) Anthro-

Ludick, P. (2001). The pedagogy of place. The NAMTA

New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

pology: A modern adolescent approach. Montessori

Journal 26.3: 155-173.

demand that these benchmarks be met,

they need to know. We now have a way

and they have been given online access

to address these concerns of parents so

to view every school’s test results. This

that they can feel confident in choos-

online microscope for parents has accul-

ing Montessori for their child as caring,

turated them into benchmark verbiage

competent parents. At the very least,

and has promoted a tendency to seek the

they will feel good about their choice,

school for their child that produces the

and at the very best, they will be able to

best test scores. In my experience in the

see that by choosing Montessori educa-

public schools, these parents vote with

tion for their child, they are giving them

their feet, moving their children every

the best education in the world. They

year to the school that does the best job

will see that in Montessori preschool,

hen I learned of The Mon-

according to the benchmark testing. Par-

children 5-6 years of age will meet or

tessori Foundation’s re-

ents have become astute in the language

exceed the National Standards not only

Scope & Sequence: The hope and opporTuniTy iT BringS


cently released Scope and

of benchmark testing and feel strongly

for kindergarten benchmarks, but poten-

Sequence software program that would

that if they care about their child’s edu-

tially for grades first-, second- and even

facilitate the alignment of the Montessori

cation—if they want to see themselves

third-grade benchmarks.

“curriculum” with the National Educa-

as “good parents,” they must demand

tion Standards, I was elated! Through

these results for their child. They come

In addition, using the Scope and Se-

ten years of experiencing the unneces-

to our classrooms armed with these un-

quence in conjunction with a digital re-

sary learning difficulties for children in


cording and reporting software program,

both private non-Montessori elementary

we Montessorians will now be able to

classrooms and public school elementary

Prior to the development of this Scope

build up data sources, proving the ob-

classrooms, I could see the hope that this

and Sequence, we had no way of speak-

servable, measurable outcomes of our

type of alignment could bring and the

ing their language. Using the Scope and

educational method—something that

potential for spreading authentic Mon-

Sequence, it is possible to show that not

has been seriously lacking in our indus-

tessori schools all over the United States.

only does the Montessori curriculum

try and which has stifled the expansion

match the National Education Standards,

of Montessori into the lives of children.

it goes far beyond those requirements.

I am thrilled that, through the efforts of

Since NCLB (No Child Left Behind), parents have been indoctrinated into


The Montessori Foundation, these op-

thinking that benchmark-testing results

The Scope and Sequence is accessible

are the best way to prove that their child is

in printed form and through online ac-

learning what he or she should be learn-

cess. This allows us to show parents that

Susan Cusack is an AMI Primary Guide in

ing in school. They have been trained to

their children are, indeed, learning what

Vancouver, WA.

portunities have been created.

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

Is there a place for them in classic Montessori education? by Sharon Caldwell


n 2007, Tim Seldin sent an invitation to a number of

the basics.” The guide was adamant that this did not conflict

Montessori teachers to comment on the use of work-

with Montessori pedagogy.

books and worksheets in Montessori environments.

I wrote an article based on a compilation of the responses.

It is alarming to note a number of publishers who promote

During recent visits to schools, I have noticed an increasing

“Montessori” workbooks and similar materials, and it is un-

use of workbooks and worksheets. Even more concerning is

derstandable that some people may become confused on this

the discovery that many of these are marketed as Montessori

point. The same difficulty would apply to the marketing of

workbooks. What follows is a somewhat updated version of

non-Montessori materials, so it is important that schools apply

the original article — updated to include some more recent

fundamental principles of Montessori pedagogy when select-

thoughts and observations.

ing the materials that will be introduced into the classroom. Just because something is marketed as “Montessori” does not

At this point, I must clarify what I mean by worksheets or

mean it is.

workbooks. This includes what are sometimes called blackline masters. These are pages compiled where the children are re-

Respondents to Tim’s query who had undergone AMI courses

quired to fill in missing information. While this type of mate-

were in agreement that their training was “adamantly against

rial is regarded as indispensible in regular classrooms, one has

the use of workbooks;” whereas, some other training courses

to ask where they fit in the Montessori classroom, based as

appear to encourage their use. Even some, whose training op-

it is on the child’s spontaneous activity and manipulation of

posed the use of these materials, found that, once they began

concrete materials.

teaching, they were required to use them in their classes by the school administrators. In some cases, entire language or

Not only is the trend towards widespread use of workbooks in

mathematics programs are based on workbook series with the

Montessori classrooms growing, it also appears to be extend-

Montessori apparatus being used as supporting material.

ing to lower ages. I recently visited a class where the children were grouped by age and required to complete a set number of

It appears that, in some cases, workbooks are used to placate

pages a standard workbook each day with children as young as

parents’ fears about what children are learning. Teachers have

three years old being required to fill in workbooks. On closer

children complete workbooks, as this provides some tangible

examination, I noticed that these books, which had “Mon-

evidence that the child is learning, something more durable

tessori extensions” clearly printed on the covers, contained

than the guide’s assertion that the child has built full sentenc-

blackline masters that are used in conventional schools for

es with the moveable alphabet, but declined the suggestion

children two to three years older. Another classroom I visited

to write any of it on paper. Seeing completed pages of math

required that workbook assignments were completed before

workbooks, albeit at a very low level, may be more comforting

the children could choose work from the shelves. The ratio-

to a parent than being told that, “Johnny did the full layout of

nale for this was that “it ensures that the children will cover

the square of the decanomial in one sitting.” It is tempting

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


for insecure (and perhaps inexperienced)

Dr Montessori’s language program fo-

Most regular phonics workbooks tend

guides to fall into the trap of thinking

cused on the use of the Moveable Alpha-

to put a lot of emphasis on reading and

that providing the odd workbook to ap-

bet. The Montessori phonetic approach

spelling. These activities generally test,

pease parents (or non-Montessori school

is a synthetic phonics approach; whereas,

rather than teach, these skills. They sel-

administrators) can’t do any harm.

most workbooks are based on an analyt-

dom provide for any creative writing,

ic phonics approach. The question that

and no real thinking is required — just

Some argue that language workbooks

must be asked is whether the time spent

finding the single correct answer. The

can provide additional phonetic sup-

pracon workbooks isn’t better spent on prac

irony about using such books is that the

port and, furthermore, they are readily available, relatively cost-effective, and enjoy widespread popularity in regular education circles. Workbooks (and the means to make cheap and quick copies of blackline masters) were not available in Dr. Montessori’s day. So how can we establish whether workbooks conform with the approach or not?

“I believe that Montessori schools/teachers using textbooks in the early elementary years, instead of, or in addition to our Montessori materials, do not have the faith in the method.” —Rosario Toward

At this point, I must add that the argu-

ticing compiling words and sentences

child who can manage them unaided

ments for and against worksheets differ

with the Moveable Alphabet, words and

does not need this practice; whereas, the

little from the arguments supporting

sentences that originate from the child’s

child who needs the practice, can prob-

and rejecting IPads. Schools that appear

own motivation and imagination, rather

ably not manage the workbook without

to be comfortable with worksheets tend

than filling in the blanks on sheets that

step-by step coaching.

to welcome IPad apps, which are little

are mass produced and have no connec-

more than worksheets with buzzers and

tion to the child’s individual needs and

It is perhaps important to note that, just



like the Montessori didactic materials, workbooks can be used or abused. Us-


Montessori education is not regular

Montessori provides a clear path to writ-

ing recognized Montessori materials

schooling – we do things differently and

ing and reading. Kitty Bravo (Montes-

in a way that controls and stifles a child

with good reason.

sori teacher trainer) responded: “I have

(as teaching aids or props, rather than as

come to believe in the power of the key

materials for development), would not

Most of the respondents referred to

Montessori language materials (Met-

be appropriate in a Montessori class-

phonics workbooks, which may indicate

al Insets, Sandpaper Letters, and the

room; although, sadly, they are used in

that this is the type of workbook most

Moveable Alphabet), to which I add

this way all too often.

commonly encountered in Montessori

chalkboards for the emergent writers.

(and other early childhood) classrooms.

My experience is that the child’s focused

Workbooks and other materials not spe-

This is also the type of workbook that is

and interactive work with these mate-

cifically developed by Dr. Montessori

the most inappropriate in the Montes-

rials will lead to spontaneous reading

may have a place in the prepared envi-

sori context, as it generally follows an

and writing, just like Dr. Montessori

ronment if we use them in manner that

approach that is, in many ways, contrary

indicated in her writings and lectures.

is consistent with her requirements.

to the Montessori focus on word build-

Perhaps we need to trust the Method

ing (encoding) being well established

and, even more importantly, trust the

Use of any material, workbooks, or

before reading (decoding) is presented.


otherwise, that is aimed primarily at

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

memorizing data without meaningful

Many of the Montessorians we consult-

to the grammar materials may prefer a

exploration is inappropriate. The prob-

ed felt that, properly used, workbooks

worksheet to laying out cards from the

lem with most conventional workbooks

may be useful:

grammar series, which are more appro-

is that they tend to lead to busy-work and

priate to a younger child.

passive, rather than active, input from the

“A child may enjoy the Movable Alpha-

child. If a workbook can provide suf-

bet and choose the work often, but she

Worksheet or workbook series may also

ficient scope for self-pacing and isolation

may also enjoy writing words below pic-

be useful where there are no correspond-

of difficulty, is chosen by the child, has

tures on a commercially prepared page. I

ing Montessori materials or to provide

potential for self-correction (some sort

believe this is appropriate work and does

extensions or motivation for work. In

of built-in control of error), and engages

not minimize the Montessori materials

South Africa, we have a series of science

reason as well as pen control, then it may

or experiences.” —Cathie Perolman

workbooks that accompany “micro-

have a legitimate role. Most specifically, the workbook should never be used as a replacement for authentic Montessori

science” kits. These are miniature test ThE ApprOprIATE USE OF wOrkBOOkS?

materials and lessons, nor should it replace

tubes, other laboratory equipment, and small quantities of chemicals that enable children to perform experiments safely

Some elementary guides argued that

and independently, which would not be

worksheets are useful for practice and

possible otherwise. A child who wishes

Workbooks and worksheets may be more

internalization of concepts for older

to do so could, for example, use the de-

appropriate in some areas of learning than

children, particularly at the upper el-

scriptions in the workbook to perform

in others. It could be argued that there

ementary level, where there is less inter-

the experiments and record his findings.

is little difference between Command

est or need for manipulative work. Even

cards, where the child records responses

then, there is a need to be vigilant that

Another use of worksheets which may be

in a notebook, and a work sheet asking the

the Montessori requirements for indi-

acceptable is to have sets of copy masters

same questions, but requiring the answer

vidually chosen work, the need to work

related to various materials and concepts,

be written on the sheet itself.

at one’s own speed, the possibility of

from which the children can choose and

finding one’s own errors and isolation of

copy for themselves when they feel they

At this point, a distinction needs to be

difficulty are features of any workbooks

need further practice or extensions. An

made between workbooks and separate

chosen for the environment. At no stage

example here could be work relating to

worksheets. A workbook implies a pre-

should workbooks be seen as the pri-

finding number patterns embedded in

scribed order and pace of work, which

mary focus or the source of the pacing of

Pascall’s triangle, which is greatly facili-

may not suit the learning needs of an in-

the curriculum.

tated by the use of preprinted triangles

the real work of the child.

dividual child. Worksheets can, on the

that are partially completed. The point

other hand, be more readily individual-

Workbooks, or more appropriately,

is that worksheets and blackline masters

ized to the needs of each child.

worksheets, could be (for older children)

could support learning effectively when

possible alternatives to card materials

they support the child in avoiding what

It is also important to be clear on the

and/or Command Cards, provided they

would otherwise be busy work or time-

ages of the children to whom we are of-

are properly prepared and sequenced and

consuming, unproductive preparation

fering workbooks. This is one aspect on

respond to the needs of individual chil-

preceding meaningful engagement.

which there seemed to be almost com-

dren. Workbooks can also provide useful

plete agreement by the respondents.

support to older children who may not

In short, it appears that the following

Workbooks are viewed as being gener-

have worked with certain materials at

conclusions might be drawn from the

ally inappropriate in the early childhood

the Casa level. For example, a ten-year-

responses of participants:


old who has not had sufficient exposure

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


† Workbooks remove an essential

sence of children’s work in a Montessori

writing. We not only do not

component of learning for the children

3-6 environment is in the spirit of play,

force a child, but we do not

in the first plane of development (i.e.,

and we confuse our aim when we feel

even invite him, or in any way

the need for movement and manipula-

that using printed material designed for

attempt to coax him to do that

tion of objects) and focus on only one

older children will serve the same end.

which he does not wish to do. So, it sometimes happens that

group of movements (i.e., those required for pen control). Montessori pedagogy

† The future reading and math abili-

certain children, not having

is based on the developmental needs of

ties of a child will benefit more from

spontaneously presented

young children, which are not well rec-

work in Practical Life or with the Sen-

themselves for these lessons,

ognized by most early childhood educa-

sorial materials than they will from any

are left in peace, and do not

tors, and probably unknown to the writ-


know how to read or write.

Using worksheets to speed up academic

If the old-time method, which

† It is easy to become confused

achievement misses a fundamental pre-

tyrannized the will of the child

about the goals of Montessori education

script of Montessori philosophy:

and destroyed his spontaneity,

ers of conventional workbooks.

does not believe in making a

when our materials include academically orientated math and language manipula-

“Not all children of the same

knowledge of written language

tives, rather than props for pretend play,

age are at the same point in

obligatory before the age of

building blocks, and other toys. The es-

this matter of reading and

six, much less do we!” —Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, Ch. 17.



When I wrote in 2007, I was more comfortable with the occasional use of workbooks and worksheets than I am now. The more I have come to understand the depth and complexity of Dr. Montessori’s pedagogy, the less inclined I am to accommodate intrusions from conventional schooling. In Montessori, we have an approach that has proven success. Can we really say the same for the


worksheets, which have not been subjected to the rigorous testing to which Dr. Montessori subjected her materials?



[Thank you to Kitty Bravo, Lorna McGrath,


Cathie Perolman, Andrew Kutt, Melody Mosby, Rosario Toward and Jonathan Wolf IN AFFILIATION WITH ASSOCIATION MONTESSORI INTERNATIONALE

for providing most of the content of this article]

School of Education


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

5 dangerouS

BehaviorS By Maren Stark Schmidt

COMpLAInIng Nothing

is ever good enough for the

Realize negative attitudes signal something deeper is happening. Millicent, an attractive professional looking salesperson, criticized co-workers’ and customers’ appearance.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” —Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi

Recently di-

vorced, the five cancerous behaviors fed on Millicent’s insecurity and damaged self-worth. Among her daily comments: “Can you believe her make-up? He’s sure


a Bozo in that tie. Where did she find

e have all experienced this

those rags?”

person. The person with the negative attitude, whose

Millicent’s apartment burned to the

dark cloud metastasizes throughout a rela-

ground, literally leaving her with only the

tionship, family, business, or community,

clothes on her back. All her possessions

bringing discord, disorder, and disaster.

(make-up, clothes, jewelry, car) gone and

person who complains.

CrITICIzIng Nobody can ever

do anything right for this person.

COMpArIng This person

compares people or possessions

with envy, jealousy, or put-downs.

COMpETIng This person

thinks they are better, smarter, or richer than everyone else.

COnTEnDIng This person tries

to make other people look like losers, so he or she can look like a winner. Everything is a competition.

uninsured. Customers and co-workers In order to maintain harmonious relation-

came to her aid, and Millicent under-

colored pencils and to decorate the edges

ships, Stephen Covey in The 8th Habit

stood that there were people who cared

of paper with designs. In a few weeks, her

says that there are five “cancerous” be-

for her, no matter what she looked like,

hands developed enough for her to feel

haviors we need to stop, not only within

or what she had said. Millicent told me,

successful in writing.

ourselves, but also in others.

“I’ll never make another unkind remark about someone. You never know what a

As Allie’s skill grew, her outlook im-

Complaining. Criticizing. Comparing.

person has endured. You have to try to

proved. In the interim, I met her com-

Competing. Contending. Five behaviors

look at the real person. We are all worthy

plaints and comparisons with a smile,

that destroy relationships.

of respect.”

knowing I could not change her disposi-

Smile and encourage skills. A per-

tion. Focusing on strengthening skills in-

How can we protect the children and

son’s negativity can seem to be beyond

directly allowed Allie and me to maintain

adults with whom we work from develop-

our ability to comprehend and change it.

a harmonious relationship.

ing these attitudes? How can we change

The key attributes to effecting positive

negative behaviors?

change in our relationships are to increase

When we are up against complaining,

knowledge, sharpen skills, and alter atti-

criticizing, comparing, competing, and

Be an example of a positive attitude.

tude. We tend to focus on knowledge and

contending attitudes, we need to remem-

My nine-year-old friend Caiti told me

attitudes, when focusing on skill develop-

ber to look on the sunny side, seek to

about her first trip to see the Red Sox.

ment might be the solution.

understand the root of the behavior, and smile while encouraging new skills.

Caiti described the game-stopping downpour in the 7th inning. ‘Wow!” she

Six-year-old Allie refused to write. “Ev-

beamed. “Some people have to go to 10

eryone can write better than me. Please

or 20 games before they get to experience

don’t make me write,” Allie cried.

a rained-out inning. I got to see it my first time. Can you believe how lucky I am?”

Allie’s attitude loomed large. So I smiled,

Bet you Caiti’s ability to make lemonade

and directed Allie to hand-strengthening

out of lemons began at home.

activities. I encouraged her to draw with

Maren Stark Schmidt, an award winning teacher and writer, founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland as well as elementary credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She writes the weekly syndicated column, Kids Talk and is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents. Contact her at and visit

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


By Matthew Rich


efinitions of what constitutes childhood differ wide-

experience, we might understand childhood as an inner or

ly, and how we understand the concept has a direct

developmental state. Theorists such as Sigmund Freud, Maria

impact upon the way we interact with those whom

Montessori, Erik Erikson, and Jean Piaget are among those

we consider to be children. In this article I will use a tool

who have attempted to explain childhood from this perspec-

known as a quadrivial analysis to examine the subject in great-

tive. “What is the existential experience of being a child?”

er detail with some interesting results (see Figure 1 below).

they seem to ask. “What goes on inside the child’s soul?” Or, as Montessori put it, “What is the secret of childhood”? The schooling paradigm, which is very prevalent across the planet, singles out one of the many different lines of internal development: the cognitive line. This is, to be certain, an important dimension of development, but it hardly supplies a complete picture of the internal world of the child. If children were to excel at all of the tests that school throws at them and prove themselves to be at a higher level of cognitive development than their teachers, would they not still remain children? In the Upper Right (UR) quadrant, which deals with exteriorindividual, or third-person singular experience and knowledge, we can understand childhood in terms of children’s behavior and biological development. Obviously, there are some correlations between this and the UL. For example, we can see puberty unfolding in very concrete, physical ways (UR), but this is not the same as psycho development (UL). Likewise, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other cutting-edge technologies have enabled us to map the rapidly expanding

Figure 1: Examples of the way “childhood” may be

neural pathways within a child’s brain (UR), but this does not

interpreted in different quadrants.

fully explain Montessori’s “absorbent mind” theory in which she postulated that young children have a hidden capacity to ab-


In the Upper Left (UL) quadrant, which deals with the sub-

sorb and assimilate certain types of information (chiefly sensory

jective-interior perspective, or first-person knowledge and

impressions) in their environment (UL). This is another preva-

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

When we can clearly identify our own beliefs around the nature of childhood, it enables us to be more mindful of the ways in which we choose to interact with children. lent way of understanding childhood and is propagated largely

tion to each other. Most people have a view of childhood that

by medical – and to some degree educational – discourse.

contains a number of these perspectives, and our understandings differ one from another as a result of the complex interac-

The Lower Right (LR) quadrant (the exterior-collective,

tions between these perspectives.

inter-objective) might place childhood in a legal framework. There are different definitions depending on the system to

When we can clearly identify our own beliefs around the na-

which one subscribes. Under the principles of Roman-Dutch

ture of childhood, it enables us to be more mindful of the ways

law that are prevalent in the Western world, for instance, we

in which we choose to interact with children. For example, a

come into being as a legal person with our first breath and

parent with a behaviorist orientation, an Upper Right bias,

remain a child until the age of 18, or 21 in some countries, at

will focus her interactions with children upon trying to find

which point we enter legal majority and are expected to take

the best stimuli in the environment to create a desired re-

responsibility for ourselves. Up until then, the law supplies

sponse. A parent with a Lower Right orientation, on the other

special protections, such as not allowing minors to enter into a

hand, will focus upon constructing the right sort of system to

contract without the ratification of their legal guardian. Their

facilitate effective child rearing. a third parent, who is a prac-

criminal liability might also be reduced.

titioner of attachment parenting (UL bias), will be primarily focused on maintaining heart connection and closeness with

The Lower Left (LL) invites us to understand childhood as a

her child. These three approaches may produce very different

social construct that differs from one socio-cultural context to

behaviors in the adult and certainly originate from very differ-

the next. It is fascinating to note that, while on the one hand,

ent thinking. Furthermore, each of them expresses a very im-

children are often told “to be seen and not heard” and seem

portant truth regarding how children develop without a grasp

to be less valuable members of society, on the other, they are

of the bigger picture.

venerated by religions all over the world. I have experienced this in my own work in early childhood education in different cultures. In South Africa, it is acceptable to let children play in the mud, or fall and scrape their knees because it is understood that these activities strengthen not only character but also the immune system. In China, the same behavior would indicate that the adult caring for the child is reckless and incompetent. When one looks at this analysis, it quickly becomes clear that all four perspectives are true and are not necessarily in opposi-

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


by Cooper Zale


have been aware of Maria Montessori and her educational “movement” (as its often referred to) as part of the spectrum of educational alternatives available mostly to more well-to-do families, who can afford

the tuition to send their kids to a private Montessori school. There are thousands of such schools in the United States today and more than 20,000 around the world. I have read about her early work researching child development, opening her first school in her native Italy, and how she became a star of the progressive education world in Europe and the U.S. in the early years of the 20th century. I am both intrigued and troubled by the fact that her ideas about creating a developmentally appropriate environment for children seem to have had so little impact on our public education system in what are conventionally the preschool and elementary school years. In digging a little deeper into the

“As early as 1909, Montessori’s work began to attract the attention of international observers and visitors. Her work was widely published internationally and spread rapidly. By the end of 1911, Montessori education had been officially adopted in public schools in Italy and Switzerland and was planned for the United Kingdom. By 1912, Montessori schools had opened in Paris and many other Western European cities and were planned for Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Syria, the United States, and New Zealand. Public programs in London, Johannesburg, Rome, and Stockholm had adopted the Method in their school systems. Montessori societies were founded in the United States (the Montessori American Committee) and the United Kingdom (the Montessori Society for the United Kingdom). In 1913 the first International Training Course was held in Rome, with a second in 1914.

history, it seems her innovative ideas suffered a similar fate as the ideas of other “holistic” educators, like John Dewey, suc-

Montessori and her “scientific pedagogy” were stars on the

cumbing to the “business efficiency” movement in education

rise as the world was inspired at the turn of the 20th centu-

in the second and third decades of the 20th century.

ry by the movement of “Modernism,” rejecting traditional thinking in favor of new ideas (including leveraging the latest

Unlike conventional schools at the time (or even still today),

scientific wisdom) or combining existing ideas in new innova-

Montessori’s Method was centered around the learning pro-

tive ways. Her approach to early childhood education seems to

cess known as “Constructivism.” Rather than instructing

have been the state of the art along with her vision of how a

students on existing frames, filters, and other constructs that

more holistic and humanistic education of youth could bring

interpret and organize a body of existing knowledge, students

about a more peaceful world. In that latter regard, Montessori

were given free reign to experience a prepared environment

would go on to be nominated for six Nobel Peace Prizes dur-

first hand (with a minimum of guidance from the teacher)

ing her lifetime.”

to “construct” their own frames and interpretations and act upon the environment to both acquire and test new knowledge. Preparation of that learning environment was facilitated


by specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators.

Focusing on the United States, it appears that Montessori’s ideas were beginning to gain traction in the second decade of

Her school was very successful, and soon others were opened

the 20th century. From the Wikipedia article on Maria Mon-

on the same model, and news of her success spread around the


world. From the Wikipedia article on Maria Montessori:


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

“In 1911 and 1912, Montessori’s work

their teachers on managing the school-

more liberal than mainstream American

was popular and widely publicized in

ing process. His school was perhaps the

ideology, giving students greater

the United States, especially in a series

first democratic-free school, and inspired

responsibility for their own learning.

of articles in McClure’s Magazine, and

English educator A.S Neill to open his

They objected to industrial capitalism

the first North American Montessori

more famous Summerhill School in 1923,

which fosters a selfish competitiveness,

school was opened in October 1911, in

which continues to this day, now run by

rewarding the successful with a

Tarrytown, New York. Scottish-born

Neill’s daughter Zoe Readhead.

disproportionate share of wealth and power.”

American inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his wife became proponents of

The most famous and influential of the

the Method, and a second school was

progressive educators in the U.S. during

Montessori and Dewey in particular were

opened in their Canadian home. The

this period was American John Dewey,

the most visible leaders of that progressive

Montessori Method sold quickly through

who believed, like Montessori, that a

educational challenge.

six editions. The first International

dedicated and highly trained teacher

Training Course in Rome in 1913

could create an enriched learning envi-

was sponsored by the American

ronment within which the young person

Montessori Committee, and 67 of

could direct their own learning process.

the 83 students were from the United

Unlike Lane, who believed in complete

During this very same time period, a

States. By 1913, there were more than

educational freedom for the young per-

number of other events came together to

100 Montessori schools in the country.

son to explore whatever was of interest to

challenge or otherwise diminish Montes-

Montessori traveled to the United States

them, Dewey was closer to Montessori

sori’s and other progressive educational

in December 1913 on a three-week

in seeing the teacher not as the “sage on

movements. The “muckraking” journals

lecture tour, which included films of

the stage” (like in conventional schools)

of the period that had previously exposed

her European classrooms, meeting with

but the “guide on the side” presenting a

malpractice and corruption in the meat-

large, enthusiastic crowds wherever she

preset curriculum that the student would

packing and other industries (including


then explore in their own way rather than

the same McClure’s journal that published


being directed step by step by the teacher.

the series lauding Montessori’s method),

During this same time period there were

From 1904 to 1930, Dewey was professor

turned their focus on “inefficiencies” in

other voices advocating for educational

of philosophy at Columbia University and

the American public education system.

transformation. In 1911, American anar-

the university’s Teacher’s College, train-

Public schools were becoming a major

chist Emma Goldman was part of a group

ing and otherwise inspiring a generation

expense in community budgets (while

that set up the Modern School in New

of progressive educators.”

not directly producing any revenue), so

York City, based on the anarchist ideas of

they were an obvious target. This crusade

radical Spanish educator Francisco Ferrer

According to my friend Ron Miller

provided a platform for the business ef-

and with philosopher Will Durant as its

and his excellent summary of American

ficiency experts of the day, like Frederick

first principal.

educational history in his book What are

W. Taylor, to strut their stuff criticizing

Schools For?

those schools and proposing “business-

In 1912 American educator Homer Lane

efficiency” solutions that, in retrospect,

moved to England and founded the Little

“Believing in a positive conception

did nothing to save educational funds or

Commonwealth School in Dorset. Lane

of human nature, Dewey and other

improve the educational process.

believed that children should completely

progressive educators challenged the

direct their own educational process with

traditional American culture and its

You can read more about this crusade in

no curriculum imposed on them by their

Calvinist pessimism. Progressives

Raymond Callahan’s book, Education

teachers, as well as participating with

supported an ideal of democracy far

and the Cult of Efficiency (or my piece

VoLu M e 1 5 i ssu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i Leadersh ip


on the book). But long story short, the

“Influential progressive educator

their learning through the natural

education establishment gave in to this

William Heard Kilpatrick, a

senses. Proponents of Progressive

crusade, and agreed to rebuild the public

follower of American philosopher and

Education and the Project Method

education system on these ideas of busi-

educational reformer John Dewey,

reject traditional schooling that focuses

ness efficiency and industrial mass pro-

wrote a dismissive and critical book

on memorization, rote learning, strictly

duction. The prevailing business view

[in 1914] titled The Montessori

organized classrooms (desks in rows;

was that young students must be direct-

Method Examined, which had a broad

students always seated), and typical

ed in their education completely by their

impact. The National Kindergarten

forms of assessment.”

teachers, who in turn would take their

Association was critical as well. Critics

marching orders from principals and on

charged that Montessori’s Method was

I’m not sure what to make of this! Seems

up the chain of command. Business-fo-

outdated, overly rigid, overly reliant on

to me Montessori and Dewey had a great

cused educational administrator Elwood

sense-training, and left too little scope

deal of commonality in their more holis-

Cubberley, famously said:

for imagination, social interaction,

tic approaches to education, and would

and play. In addition, Montessori’s

have done better to establish common

“Our schools are, in a sense, factories in

insistence on tight control over the

ground in challenging the traditional

which the raw products (children) are to

elaboration of her Method, the training

educational establishment. Perhaps Kil-

be shaped and fashioned into products to

of teachers, the production and use of

patrick was guilty of playing to some

meet the various demands of life. The

materials, and the establishment of

xenophobia, given that Montessori was

specification for manufacturing come

schools became a source of conflict and

a European, and even worse, a devout

from the demands of the twentieth-

controversy. After she left in 1915, the


century civilization, and it is the

Montessori movement in the United

business of the school to build its pupils

States fragmented, and Montessori

Given the conservative business-focused

to the specification laid down.”

education was a negligible factor in

educational counterrevolution I’ve ad-

education in the United States until

dressed above, eventually Dewey’s pro-


gressive ideals were co-opted, and ac-

Progressive educators like Montessori

cording to Ron Miller in his book What

and Dewey believed, instead, in a more holistic approach to education where

Doing a little more digging, I don’t think

are Schools For? the greatest lasting in-

each student needed to build their

Kilpatrick’s educational vision was that

fluences Dewey had on the American

knowledge through their own self-di-

different from Montessori’s. According

classroom were:

rected process.

to Kilpatrick’s Wikipedia article: “Cosmetic changes, such as portable


“[Kirkpatrick] developed the Project

rather than fixed seating in classrooms,

Method for early childhood education,

are about as near to progressive reform

which was a form of Progressive

as most public schools have ventured.

It is ironic that perhaps Montessori’s ed-

Education, organized curriculum and

To conceive of the school as a laboratory,

ucational ideas lost their luster in the US

classroom activities around a subject’s

where individuals explore their

in the second decade of the 20th century

central theme. He believed that the role

lives’ possibilities, or where society

because of a critique not from conserva-

of a teacher should be that of a ‘guide’

experiments with new values, would

tives or business interests, but from edu-

as opposed to an authoritarian figure.

entail sweeping changes in the

cational progressives, particularly one of

Kilpatrick believed that children should

philosophy, curriculum, methods, and

Dewey’s disciples. Continuing from the

direct their own learning according to

administration of public schools.”

Wikipedia article on Maria Montessori:

their interests and should be allowed to e


explore their environment, experiencing


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

wOrLD wAr I

Looking over the roster of great

and stayed in it much longer. College

names in literature, painting, music,

came to be seen as essential to personal

The case that Montessori, Lane, Dewey

philosophy, science, and social science,

success and the achievement of national

and others were making for a more hu-

one cannot think of more than half a

goals. By the 1960s it was asserted that

manistic, progressive, and even revolu-

dozen or so who did not spout all the

the “knowledge industry” had replaced

tionary approach to education also lost

catchphrases of abuse and vainglory…

the railroads as “the focal point of na-

traction because of the events of World

But not before 1914 was the flush of

tional growth.” As a result, education

War I, events that I believe destroyed the

blood lust seen on the whole intellectual

became the battleground for one of the

“immune system” of Western culture and

class… And everywhere, the clergy

most significant social conflicts of the

any sense of momentum of human progress.

were the most rabid glorifiers of the

20th century.

struggle and inciters to hatred. The Any forward-looking optimism and cel-

“Brotherhood of Man” and the

According to Miller, it was the efficient

ebration of human achievement took a

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” were no

and accelerated learning achieved by

devastating hit when the most suppos-

longer preachable.”

Montessori’s approach that caught the interest of middle-class Americans. Yet

edly “civilized” countries in the world flung themselves into an apocalyptic

In this context, how could the majority

Montessori had not been concerned

world war for no better reason that I can

of people continue to place any stock in

with the “output” of the child. To use

see than jaded economic self-interest

champions of human development like

her Method as a shortcut to academic

and macho national pride. Millions of

Montessori, Lane, and Dewey? How

success, or as a tool for efficiency or na-

people, the critical mass of entire gener-

could forward-looking optimism survive

tional prestige, was to adopt the letter of

ation of young men in Europe (and to a

in the face of overwhelming pessimism

her approach without its holistic spirit.

lesser extent America), slaughtered each

at the condition of human civilization?

The revival of her method was due more to its academic results than to its holistic

other on the battlefields. Calling it “the Great War” (though technically correct due to its broad scope relative to previ-



rESUrFACES In ThE US By the 1970s, the Montessori Method

ous wars) gives it a sort of stature that is an abomination, given the self-serving

It was three decades later after her death

was the most widespread, best orga-

national motives that catalyzed it.

in 1952, after worldwide depression and

nized, independent, alternative move-

an even bigger World War that Montes-

ment in American education. Unlike

Adding to the scope of the devastation,

sori’s educational approach would be-

other holistic educational approaches,

the overwhelming majority of the art-

come popular again and considered wor-

her Method has been welcomed in mid-

ists and intellectuals of the time became

thy of another look by Americans because

dle-class communities, and as I noted

advocates and cheerleaders for the war

of the space race with the Soviet Union.

at the top of this piece, today there are

rather than resisting and putting forward a more evolved vision of peace and cooperation. From Jacques Barzun’s book about Western cultural development

thousands of Montessori schools in the ACCOrDIng TO rOn

MILLEr In hIS BOOk, WhAt Are SChoolS For?

during the past five centuries, Dawn to Decadence:

US.] and over 20,000 around the world. Yet, given that, her ideas (and those of Dewey) have had little impact on the public schools in the US that educate

After 1920, public education respond to

nearly 90 percent of our young people.

industrialization by expanding drama-

Cooper Zale is a parent of two, now young adult kids, and blogs about transforming education as we transform society from hierarchies of control to circles of equals, at This article first appeared in his blog dated April 25th, 2012.

“What is truly astonishing is the

cally in scope. With mandatory atten-

unanimity, unheard of on any other

dance and child labor laws, the great ma-

subject but the war and the enemy.

jority of young people went to school,

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip



For Learning By Jan Katzen-Luchenta

sahexaenoic acid (DHA), the fatty acid found in algae and cold-water fish. DHA is an essential brain nutrient. Essential means the nutrient must come from the diet; it cannot be manufactured from other nutrients. Dr. Montessori noted that olive oil added to the high vitamin cholesterol (grease in the broth) found in the meatballs was an important element


of the child’s diet. If we look at research

ten nearly a century ago, was progressive

derstand why. There is five times more

dren’s food.”…………Maria Montes-

even by today’s standards. In The Mon-

DHA in neurons than in red blood

sori, The Montessori Method, 1912

tessori Method, Refection, the Child’s

cells, and olive oil partners with DHA

Diet, Dr. Montessori not only recom-

to maximize its integration into the cell

Current nutritional research is robust

mends meatballs (as one might venture

membrane. Synapses that transmit and

with data that confirms Dr. Montes-

to guess) but gives us a glimpse into the

receive chemical messengers responsible

sori’s recommendations and is concur-

importance and specificity of fats for

for paying attention, learning, memory,

rently expanded to include new fields of


sense of well being, calmness, sleep (and

investigation, as our food is less nourish-

cuddling!) are also rich in DHA.

ing, chemically enhanced, and wreaking

aria Montessori was a medi-

by Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, president

able until a scientific course in cooking

cal doctor, and her scientific

of the Center of Genetics, Nutrition

shall be introduced into the wealthier

approach to nutrition, writ-

and Health (Washington D. C.), we un-

family’s habit of specializing in chil-

metabolic havoc in the brains and bodies

“Instead of removing grease from the broth, it is better to add butter to it, or in

And meatballs, Cio! Beef contains all of

of some children. As Professor Michael

the case of the poor, a spoonful of olive

the amino acids in high ratios, including

Crawford from the Institute of Brain

oil — but substitutes for butter (such as

the nine essential amino acids that chil-

Chemistry and Human Nutrition (UK)

margarine), should never be used.” This

dren need for healthy brain development

predicted at the World Health Sym-

recommendation certainly imbues the

and function. In fact, children need 20

posium in the 1970s, mental health is

wisdom of the day. Margarine, a man-

percent more of the nine essential amino

surpassing heart disease worldwide, and

made fat is deleterious to development.

acids found in protein daily than adults!

children are amassing brain disorders at an unprecedented rate. Can nutritional

We know, today, that many margarine spreads (and a myriad of foods) con-

Amino acids make the chemical mes-

education mediate or, better yet, pre-

tain hydrogenated oils or trans fats — a

sengers produced by the brain and fatty

vent this epidemic? Published data from

powerful deterrent to visual and neuro-

acids regulate them.

nutritional scientists and experts in the field of nutrients and brain chemistry

logical development and function. Most “In order to protect the child’s devel-

cholesterol found in grass-fed animals,

opment, especially in neighborhoods

an essential nutrient to build myelin, the

where standards of child hygiene are

Jan Katzen-Luchenta AMI CFP, CN, is a certified

fatty sheath that activates the action po-

not yet prevalent in the home, it would

nutritionist (former AMI Montessori educator), works for

tential between two neurons.

be well if a large part of the child’s diet could be entrusted to the school. More-


trumpet a resounding, YES.

importantly, they lack high vitamin

a developmental pediatrician, and has a private practice in Phoenix, Arizona. Jan is the author of Nutrition For Learning, Feeding the Starving Brain. Visit her website

Olive oil, recommended by Dr. Mon-

over, even in the case of rich children, for informaton regarding

tessori, also builds myelin as does doco-

school refection would always be advis-

resources and classes.

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

By Hillary Drinkell


hen we work with children within our Montes-

Book) if they wish, as we feel that it gives a school the tools to

sori environments, we work with them to guide

becoming a world-class Montessori school.

and develop their natural, inherent gifts and tal-

ents. We help them to realize their hopes and dreams and guide

Two of the big goals for the updated IMC accreditation format

them along their paths to become productive, happy members

are for schools to work on continuous improvement and insti-

of society. The goal of our new accreditation is the same as that

tutional stability. On top of these two large goals, another key

which we hold for our students; we would like the accredita-

component is within the education standard and how this is

tion experience to be one in which schools develop to be the

implemented within the vision and the mission of the school. It

best of what their vision and mission statements declare. The

might be said that the original accreditation document looked

accreditation documents provide the same type of guidance for

more towards best practice than the new standards do; now the

the school, as do Montessori teacher-guides within the class-

trend within the US (and we expect worldwide) is to look at

room environment.

schools from a validation rather than a compliance perspective, as was the more historical format. The goal is that the school

The IMC’s new accreditation format has been modeled upon

says ‘yes’ we have studied ourselves, we have been evaluated by

AdvancEd’s model, so that we can eventually align ourselves

our peers, and we are working towards our vision and our goals

with this organization, thus enabling our school-level member

while providing a safe, high quality, Montessori education for

schools to obtain a joint independent school and Montessori

our students.

accreditation, if they so desire. In the new format, schools might find that there is nothing like Much thought, discussion and re-writing of the standards has

the amount of documentation required by the previous format,

occurred to ensure that we have aligned them to Montessori

but that does not mean that documentation is not needed. So,

philosophy, principles, and methodology in addition to mov-

for example, as a standard business practice a school would be

ing away from the original compliance model to a new valida-

expected to have job descriptions and supervision practices in

tion model of accreditation. The re-write team consisted of:

place, but there may not be specific required documentation

Margot Garfield-Anderson, Kathy Leitch, Claire Salkowski,

needed to provide to the team. However, in this example, the

Tim Seldin, and myself. Everything that was decided upon was

visiting teams will be trained in interviewing techniques and

put before the IMC board of trustees for their approval before

to ask specific questions that will elicit needed information re-

the pilot rollout to board member schools occurred this Janu-

garding the school’s business practices, and there might also be

ary (2013).

some required documentation – this is being finalized within our first pilot phase.

The updated standards have their basis within the original, very thoughtful and extensive, IMC accreditation document,

Instead of the nine standards in the original accreditation doc-

which we started calling The Big Book and the Seal of Recog-

ument, there are now five. These are crafted to ensure that the

nition (SORS) document, which had originally been designed

school is asking itself the right questions needed to reflect on

to enable schools to do a quicker, not as in-depth experience

the business of being a Montessori school.

towards Montessori standards’ recognition. Any schools wanting to do the new IMC accreditation will also have access to

Accompanying each of the five standards are two other doc-

the original IMC School Accreditation Standards (The Big

uments: a set of question documents, which are available to

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


help schools recognize what the standard is asking and looking for; and another set pieces of evidence needed for the visit-

vocaBuLary cardS in The MonTeSSori priMary cLaSSrooM

ing team, along with other evidence that

(Master’s dissertation abstract printed with permission from Julia Volkman)

of documents which give non-negotiable

might also be considered as an example of validating an indicator within a standard.

Julia Volkman, AMI 3 to 6+ (Founder, Maitri Learning), with advice and guidance from Annette Haines, Ed D. (Director of Training, Montessori Training Center of St. Louis;

It might also be noted that physical docu-

AMI Pedagogical Committee), Tarin Weiss, Ed D. (School of Education, University

mentation will not be the only contributing

of Massachusetts at Amherst), and Pamela Allen, M Ed./Doctoral Student (Education

factor in the validation process.

Program Specialist, Office of Non-Public Education, US Department of Education).

Each of the five standards have indicators


which do as they say; they indicate what part of the standard of accreditation the

This was an observational, international, multi-center, single-blind study of

school needs to meet and provide a tool

vocabulary card lamination formats in eleven Montessori primary (ages 3 to 6+)

to evaluate how the school is meeting the

classrooms with total enrollment of 284 students. The study ran from Decem-

standard. There are several, and at times

ber, 2005 through March 15, 2006. The study evaluated identical vocabulary

many, indicators that the school needs to

cards laminated in distinct ways: Set A with a flexible, 1.5 mil laminate and

consider and reflect upon for each standard.

square corners; Set B with a rigid, 5 mil laminate with rounded corners. The assumption that vocabulary cards featuring color photographs will call to and

Accompanying the indicators are lev-

interest the child is clearly supported by the findings of this study; the cards

els that have descriptors, and the school

were regularly and repeatedly used in all classrooms. The overall frequency

is asked to rate itself according to these

with which children chose Set A versus Set B cards was nearly equivalent, al-

guidelines (think a rubric-type system).

though the children were slightly more likely to choose Set B for the initial presentation. Of the children who stated a preference, 83 percent preferred Set B

We have made some very significant

cards. Ninety percent of responding teachers preferred Set B cards. No teachers

changes to the IMC School Accreditation

preferred Set A cards. Seven of the 11 classrooms (64 percent) studied reported

program, but the basic premise still holds:

damage to Set A cards. No classrooms reported damage to Set B cards.

The essential issue, in addition to the question of whether a school is worthy of


trust, is whether a school representing itself as a Montessori school is doing so as

The assumption that vocabulary cards featuring color photographs will call to

an authentic Montessori school. (“Wor-

and interest the child is clearly supported by the findings of this study. The cards

thy of Trust” meaning: Is the school clear

were regularly and repeatedly used in all classrooms. Further, several teachers

in what it says it offers? Does it actually

commented on the value of vocabulary cards in their classrooms.

do what it says? Is it operated in a sound, stable, manner that deserves public confi-


dence?) We strive to allow for tremendous


diversity, while speaking to the central is-

Fifteen of the children’s comments indicated a clear preference for Set B cards

sue of what one should expect to find in

while only 3 indicate a clear preference for Set A cards. Eight of the comments

a responsible school that wishes to repre-

specifically state a preference for rounded corners. One child who preferred Set

sent itself as being a Montessori program.

B said, “We like these ones because they are round. The other ones are pricky

© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

on the fingers. The round ones are bet-

may have been due to the more rigid

Based on the results of this study, the

ter.” Other comments were similar.

laminate or to the rounded corners.

thin laminate used in Set A cards cre-


Next, we must consider the question of

sibility of environmental feedback. The

damage. This study found a high rate of

results indicate that vocabulary cards

damage to Set A cards and no damage to

laminated with a 1.5 mil laminate are at

Overall, there was no significant dif-

Set B cards. Montessori teachers know

high risk of damage in a short period of

ference in the rate of choice of Set A or

that a creased vocabulary card cannot be

time. Economically, the cost of replac-

Set B packets. The children did show a

repaired; the crease will not be removed

ing damaged cards may offset the savings

slight preference for Set B packets dur-

even if the card is re-laminated. As it is

in purchasing this less expensive form of

ing the initial presentation (53 percent

no longer “perfect,” the children will

laminate. But, do Set B cards provide

chose Set B while 47 percent chose Set

forever be distracted by the damage and

enough environmental feedback? If they

A). The regular use of both Set A and

have difficulty looking past it to the im-

do not, one might expect the children to

Set B cards suggests that these differ-

age presented on the card. Thus, it needs

handle them more roughly (since there

ences in lamination are not perceived as

to be removed and replaced. This, of

would be little physical consequence

important to the child.

course, adds an additional burden to the

for rough or careless use). This did not

teacher’s time and budget.

appear to be the case as 60 percent of

ated the probability rather than the posrIgID LAMInATE

teachers felt there was no difference in

However, there were two primary factors which confounded these results.

Taken together, the children’s stated

how the children handled the cards and

First, the study did not distinguish be-

preference for Set B combined with the

40 percent felt they handled Set B with

tween the choice of both packets togeth-

damage factor (and the children’s reluc-

greater care. Still, it may be interesting

er for matching work from the choice

tance to use again materials they have

to study this question in a new study

of a single packet for vocabulary work.

damaged) speaks against the thin lami-

where half of the classrooms examine

Second, the study did not measure when

nate and in favor of the thicker laminate.

cards laminated with a 3 mil laminate while the other half examine otherwise

a packet was chosen because it was the only packet available on the shelf (i.e.,


identical cards laminated with a 5 mil laminate.

the other packet was already in use). A valuable follow-up study might ask the

As to the question of adequate environ-

teachers to record the unexpected uses

mental feedback, the fact that damage

of the cards (i.e., for matching work and

occurred during just eight weeks of use

for independent work when the other

in 70 percent of responding classrooms

set was already in use) separately from

is concerning. It may indicate a flaw in

Both children and teachers noted that

choices made when both sets were avail-

the design/manufacture of the Set A

the corners of Set A cards were “pokey,”

able on the shelf.

cards themselves rather than in a valu-

“pricky,” or hurt the child’s fingers.



able level of environmental feedback.

There were no concerns stated by either

Since the frequency of use data does

One teacher stated this possible design

children or teachers about the rounded

not clearly indicate a preference for one

flaw in her comments:

corners. These comments demonstrate

lamination method over the other, we

that the square corners produced a tac-

look to the children’s comments. Of the

“I had the impression that with the Set A,

tile distraction to the child while the

eighteen children who stated a prefer-

children couldn’t pick up the cards from the ta-

rounded corners did not. Thus, the

ence, 83 percent (15 children) preferred

ble and that was why they had to crease them

rounded corners provide greater isola-

Set B cards while 17 percent (3 children)

to lift them at all, they were too thin.”

tion of the visual stimulus than cards

preferred Set A cards. This preference

with square corners.

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


Based on the limited results available from this study, it seems that rounding the corners on laminated cards does not interfere with the children’s desire or ability to use them while leaving the corners square may. TEAChEr prEFErEnCE The teachers overwhelmingly preferred Set B cards. Teachers were not concerned with the level of environmental feedback provided by either set of cards (excluding damage). They also perceived no significant difference in the children’s ability to handle (e.g., layout, stack) either set of cards. The issue of preference focused on the perceived superiority of Set B cards with respect to their durability and rounded corners. IMpLICATIOnS A key finding of this study is that vocabulary cards are a work that the children want to use repeatedly. This data supports the importance of vocabulary cards in the Montessori language curriculum and should encourage all teachers to offer the children a variety of vocabulary cards that are regularly rotated through their language area. Similarly, the study found that children were drawn to match the cards together even though they had not been given a specific lesson to do so. If we trust the child’s inner guide to find the work that they need, assuming it is available for them to choose, we are reminded that identical matching is also an important work for the child. It too should be included in the language area of all classrooms. Another important discovery of this study is that the children were much more flexible about the lamination format of the cards than were teachers. The children may have preferred one set over the other but this did not prevent them from using both sets to do identical matching work. At the same time, many children commented on the “pokey” corners of the square cards. As our aim is to isolate the visual stimuli the cards are designed to provide (just as we wear a blindfold to isolate the tactile sense), we should round the corners on laminated cards in order to remove this tactile distraction and by so doing further isolate the concept being presented. Finally, the rate of damage that occurred to the cards laminated with the 1.5 mil laminate indicates that this form of lamination is undesirable. If a high level of environmental feedback is desired, unlaminated cards may be the most economical and environmentally responsible means of attaining it. If the cards will be laminated, they should be laminated with a thicker laminate.


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

By Dee Hirsch







of the school includes traits that are valued by school families.

(PNMA) was founded by Mrs. Madeleine Justus

Now consider who prepares the educational environment in

with other Seattle area teachers in 1962. Expanded

the school district, the state, and the country. This bigger view

from its initial local focus, PNMA is a state-wide organiza-

includes licensing agencies, accreditation organizations, and

tion. They still meet with Mrs. Justus to share their progress.

local regulations. For every school, years of reforms and laws

Mrs. Justus also helped found the Washington Federation

have formed the current operating conditions. The design and

of Independent Schools (WFIS) and received their Lifetime

functioning of a school can be adapted to local codes, which

Achievement Award in 2011. Her stories and integrity have

allow a constant structure over a long period of development

been important elements in Montessori teacher education in

or are changed by shifting government priorities imposed with

this region.

new laws.

This article attempts to survey changes in the education policies

Montessori school leaders must be alert to licensing issues that

followed in Washington State and to broaden the discussion to

challenge the tenets of the pedagogy and the implementation

the challenges that are present in every school location. (Edi-

of the school program. At any time, directives written for gen-

tor’s note: We’ve assembled the steps PNMA went through

eral compliance can threaten the integrity of a school program.

to tackle the issues several other states are experiencing. This

Regulation becomes personal when a change in the school is

is not written to be a single article, but more of a compilation

imposed for compliance but is at odds with the school’s integ-

and timeline of information of the way Montessori educators

rity as a Montessori school.

in Washington State are working with the system.) Most licensing and regulation of educational programs does EDUCATIOnAL EnVIrOnMEnT

not reflect or respect Montessori school practices, so it is up to school leadership to represent the values of each program.

Montessori educators prepare environments for children. Mon-

What if the Montessori educational community is represented

tessori schools prepare environments for learning communities,

in the process of regulatory reforms? Would we see inclusion

including educators and families. The environment for a school

of our work and recognition of our credentials? Could we

community impacts the culture of the school and the oppor-

count on the freedom to implement our program in the inter-

tunities for the children. Loyalty to the mission and character

est of our children and families?

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


In Washington State, we are busy ad-

interest group of school leaders. We saw

round of the process. Funding of Early

vising our state agencies from our ex-

participation of about thirty Montessori

Achievers is for three years, and we may

perience as educators in this state and

school directors at each meeting.

be able to promote new rating tools on the next funding cycle.

putting the Montessori voice into the discussion of reforms.

Rewriting of

In October 2011, we tackled licen-

the Early Learning Plan has opened the

sor inconsistencies with regard to five-

In July 2012, we hosted the QRIS ori-

agencies to community input, and our

year-old children in early childhood

entation required for participation of li-

Montessori community is ready to con-

licensed care. Although this is okay in

censed centers. Childcare Aware is the


the licensing rules, many schools have

regional resource agency providing these

licensors who consider all five-year-olds

trainings. Again, we brought Montes-

to be “school age” and require separa-

sori school leaders to this setting. We

tion from the early learners. Later, the

learned about elements of the program

licensing manager in our area discussed

that concerned us and also generated the

this with her supervisor and reported

idea of getting Montessori educators to

My experience as a Montessori educa-

back an agreed strategy. As long as the

apply to be coaches with Early Achievers

tor in Washington State has led to an

Montessori programs do not call the

or Rating Trainees for CLASS.



awareness of the challenges for Montessori schools in current licensing actions at many schools. Most often I hear from school leaders when they are faced with actions by licensors who are challenging elements of their program, such as the

Most licensing and regulation of educational programs does not reflect or respect Montessori school practices, so it is up to school leadership to represent the values of each program.

mixed-age group. Fortunately, we have a well-established organization to act as

five-year-olds “kindergarteners,” they

The initial outcome of these meetings

a hub of communication and a voice for

can remain with the class. At this time,

has been an opening in the discussion of

Montessori education. Pacific North-

we are seeking consistent implementa-

new programs in state agencies. School

west Montessori Association, formed in

tion of this policy.

leaders have had the opportunity to share perspectives and address concerns

1962 is a membership organization for Montessori professionals.


In April 2012, we hosted specialists in-

in a public forum. Individuals have had

troducing the QRIS prior to implemen-

access to become more connected to the

The new Early Learning Guidelines

tation. Our school leaders requested

agencies. We know the guests in our fo-

enacted along with the Early Achievers

use of the Montessori Environmental

rums have heard our issues and will be stay-

QRIS (Quality Rating and Improve-

Rating Scale for the required rating of

ing in touch as we continue the process.

ment System) and a $60 Million Race

schools. We heard that DEL (Depart-

To The Top are accelerating changes

ment of Early Learning – a WA state

in regulation and licensing. During the

agency) is committed to the NAEYC

rapid roll-out of these programs, PNMA

(National Association for the Education

hosted three forums with specialists

of Young Children) environmental rat-

Professional development for Montes-

from state agencies for school leaders.

ing Scale and the CLASS (Classroom

sori educators in licensed centers is doc-

These provided a community outreach

Assessment Scoring System - a trade-

umented in MERIT, a state database,

for the Department of Early Learning

mark system for observing and assessing

where each person has an individual

and Childcare Aware to bring specialists

the quality of interactions between stu-

profile. DEL will require all professional

from the new projects before a common

dents and teachers) as tools for this first

credentials to be verified and has created


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

a Career Lattice to define the typical

Montessori language into the lattice. The

Washington is one of nine states that is

path of professional education and work

MACTE accredited credential would be

implementing Early Learning reforms

opportunities. Once again, there was no

the starting point because of recognition

with the Race To The Top funding. I

sign of Montessori educators. Since this

by the US Department of Education.

would love to hear what is going on for

is one element that is still in develop-

By the end of summer, we were schedul-

Montessori educators and programs in

ment, there is a window of opportunity

ing our next MERIT meeting to bring

these states during the funding of this

to influence the final design.

forth our proposal. The intervening

program. Email me at: []

discussion among the directors found Directors of three Montessori Teacher

some difficulties in the way the lattice

[Montessori Teacher Educators who are

Education Centers in Washington who

language worked, so the way to add in

advocating for MACTE credentials:]

provide MACTE accredited credentials

lines was not clear, but we were clear on

stepped onto the challenge of gaining

the level of the lattice for the certificates.

Gulsevin Kayihan, Spring Valley

recognition of their graduates for their

The simpler path for us was to create a

Montessori Teacher Education,

credential verification.

Montessori lattice that shows the educa-

The first step

would be inserting language into the

tion and careers path in our field. Mary Schneider, MEIPN, Montessori

Career Lattice. We had the contacts from our April forum, which included

We brought our Montessori lattice to

Education Institute of Pacific

a MERIT specialist working on the Lat-

the meeting, and it was accepted to be


tice. Requesting a meeting was an easy

included, placing credentials in the level

step for making our case.

of Statewide Credentials, on par with a

Jeannine Hanson, Montessori

CDA or the CSEFEL (Center on the

Center for Teacher Education - Washington State, www.

Washington is one of nine states that is implementing Early Learning reforms with the Race To The Top funding.

CrEDEnTIAL VALIDATIOn [The final step in this stage is for each Teacher Ed Center to provide a course

In the summer of 2012, we met to go

Social and Emotional Foundations for

list for each credential. The credits need

over the process of including new lan-

Early Learning - a training module ac-

to be aligned with the core competencies

guage in the lattice. The MERIT special-

cepted for credit in the lattice to be

in the MERIT system. The credentials

ists are young professionals, who brought

found at Certificate.

submitted by teachers will be validated

positive energy and ideas to our meeting.

The level of the MACTE credential for

by these charts, used as a transcript for

The teacher education directors are well

Infant-Toddler, ECE, or School Age will

the course. One inclusive course align-

versed in their programs and had met

qualify as the professional credits in that

ment was submitted in November and

about twelve years earlier for a similar

level. Early in the education program, a

the validation of MACTE credentials is

effort in the previous STARS system. At

student will earn the hours needed for

in place for 2013.]

that time, the outcome was an exemp-

the initial certificate to work in a class-

tion from the basic 20-hour requirement

room as a student-intern with more au-

During our discussions we asked about

for all MACTE credentialed providers.

tonomy. Additionally, the MACTE cre-

the Montessori Teacher certificates

This time, we were looking for a way to

dential (along with any AA, Bachelor or

outside the MACTE umbrella. Each

gain a higher recognition. We came out

Graduate degree) in any field will qualify

course will need to have a similar list of

of this meeting with a plan to write the

as credits for work with this age group.

credits for any certificate in order to be

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Š Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


Many states are in the early stages of implementing the Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. This may be your opportunity to have a voice for Montessori education in the places included in validation. We do under-

† The time is right

stand that we have raised the bar for

to be a part of the

Montessori teachers in Washington

community responding

and expect others will find this process

to the new programs.


The Pacific Northwest Montessori Association

worthwhile. I would advise any Montessori educa-


PNMA expects to meet every 6 months

tors in the nine states that received the

with our MERIT contacts to stay in

Race To the Top early learning funds

Washington Federation of

the loop and hear about new develop-

to look into how the funds are being

Independent Schools

ments in this program in order to speak

spent and where you can get a foot in

for Montessori education and keep our

the door.


Quality Rating and Improvement System

community informed. A log of our process will be available when we have

Many states are in the early stages of

completed the work in this stage.

implementing the Quality Rating and


Improvement Systems. This may be

Department of Early Learning

There are elements of our education en-

your opportunity to have a voice for

– a WA state agency

vironment that have made this kind of

Montessori education in the places

inclusion and work in the Washington

where changes are already happening.

plan possible.

[ I hope you are building your Mon-

National Association for the

tessori community through common

Education of Young Children

† Montessori education

goals. ]

has all the qualities that the



State is hoping to enact for

Dee Hirsch, Montessori educator and parent

Center on the Social and Emotional

early learning

and School Director and Member of the Pa-

Foundations for Early Learning - a

cific Northwest Montessori Association since

training module accepted for credit in

† Our collaborative

1984; Board Member since 1992; Presi-

the lattice to be found at

community of Montessori

dent 2009-2013. Newly appointed mem-

educators has a long record

ber of the Early Learning Advisory Council,

of shared interests and a

ELAC, appointed by the Washington Fed-

Montessori Accreditation Council

network of participants.

eration of Independent Schools, WFIS And

for Teacher Education

finally, the Career Lattice with MACTE. † Over several years



the Montessori school

Contact at [ ]

Managed Education and

leaders have been aware


Registry Information Tool

and vocal about the codes and licensing issues.


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

Washington State Career Lattice


Early Care and Education Professionals EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS AND SCHOOL-AGE CARE PROFESSIONALS and School-Age Care professionals

Revised November 2012

1s 2u

Core Education Competency Mastery Level




At least two hours of training in each of the Core Compentency areas (level 1 training) OR Introduction to Early Childhood Education five-credit class OR MACTE Montessori Teacher Course Certificate


80 hours of approved training toward the Child Development Associate (CDA) OR 8 approved ECE or school-age college credits


CSEFEL Training - Completion of 1 module training for infant/toddler or Preschool and Initial State Certificate ECE (12 credits) OR Child Development Associate (CDA) OR Apprentice Journey-level Associate I


CSEFEL Training - Completion of 2 module trainings for infant/toddler OR Preschool and Short-term State Certificate ECE (20 credits)


CSEFEL Training - Completion of 3 module trainings for infant/toddler or Preschool and State Credential in ECE (47 credits) OR MACTE accredited IT OR ECE Teacher Credential OR AMI diploma in A to I and/or Primary




ECE or related Associate degree with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits OR AA with MACTE accredited IT or ESE Teacher Credential OR AA with AMI diploma in A to I and/or Primary OR Apprentice Journey Level Associate II 120 credits towards Bachelor’s degree with 20 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits

11 u

150 credits towards Bachelor’s degree with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits


Entry-Level Professional



ECE or related Bachelor’s degree with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits OR BA with MACTE accredited IT or ECE Teacher Credential OR BA with AMI diploma in A to I and/or Primary


20 credits towards master’s degree in any field with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits at any level of coursework

14 u

40 credits towards master’s degree in any field with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits at any level of coursework

FCC Owner/Primary Provider CCC Lead Teacher School-Age Lead Teacher Montessori Student Internship

Head Start Teacher Assistant ECEAP Assitant Teacher CCC Director CCC Program Supervisor Montessori IT (A or I) or ECE (Primary) Teacher

Statewide Credential CCC Director (without program supervisor) CCC Program Supervisor School-Age Program Director School-Age Site Coordinator

65 college credits with 30 approved ECE or school-age college credits



FCC Assistant CCC Assistant School-Age Care Assistant

Meets minimum child licensing standards or registered apprentice in high school High school or equivalent and 20 Hour Basic STARS training or 2 college credits in Basics of Child Care course

Career Opportunites

3 Associate Degree

4 Bachelor’s Degree

ECEAP Lead Teachers ECEAP Family Support Specialist Head Start Lead Teacher (alternative pathway) Apprentice Trainer Montessori IT (A to I) or ECE (Primary) Teacher

Head Start Teachers Head Start/ECEAP Education Coordinators CC Licensor Intermediate Trainer Montessori IT (A to I) or ECE (Primary) Teacher



Master’s or higher degree in any field with 30 or more approved ECE or school-age college credits at any level or coursework OR MACTE accredited IT OR ECE Teacher Credential OR AMI diploma in A to I and/or Primary

s Minimum requirements or the aligned positions. u Roughly halfway to education mastery. These qualifications can help employers identify position descriptions; quality assurance programs (such as QRIS); communicate staff qualifications; preparation of professional development plans. n Mastery of competecies commensurate with and aligned with formal

5 Graduate Degree

Acronyms FCC: Family Child Care CCC: Child Care Center ECE: Early Childhood Education ECEAP: Early Childhood Education Assistance Program CSEFEL: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning

ECE College Instructor/Professor Advanced Trainer Montessori IT (A to I) or ECE (Primary) Teacher

View DELapproved ECE or school-age related credits

View the Core Competencies for Early care and Education Professionals

Revised November 2012

VoLu M e 1 5 issu e 1 w 2 0 1 3 | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | © Mon tessor i L eadersh ip


The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) will host its next International Montessori Congress in   Portland, Oregon USA in 2013. Held every four years, the AMI International  Congress has traditionally been all but closed to  the wider community of Montessori educators.  In a landmark decision,  AMI decided to make  this next Congress much more inclusive, inviting  other Montessori organizations to join with  them in creating an international gathering of the  world-wide community of Montessori educators.  The Montessori Foundation and our affiliated  membership organization, the International  Montessori Council, are honored to lend our  support to the 2013 International Montessori  Congress as Cooperating Organizations.   

The Congress will bring  together world-renowned speakers,  research presentations, and exhibitions  on Montessori around the world.  The Congress’ theme will be:  "Montessori: Guided by Nature."

We encourage you to mark your calendars now  to attend two major Montessori Conferences  in the next year: The Montessori Foundation  and International Montessori Council's 2012  International Conference (The Peace Academy)  in Sarasota, Florida November 1-4, 2012, and  the 2013 International Montessori Congress in  Portland, Oregon USA on July 31-August 3, 2013.

For information about this November’s Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council’s 2012 International Conference go to For information about the 2013 International Montessori Congress go to


© Mo nt e ssor i L e ade rsh i p | w w w. m o ntesso ri.o rg/imc | Vo LuMe 15 i ssu e 1 w 2013

7577 E. Main Street, Lima, NY 14485 1 (877) 807-PLAY or (585) 624-5964 30

Š Mo nt E sso ri L E a DE rsh i p | ntesso ri.o rg/imc | DEC 2012

The International Montessori Council 19600 E SR 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage  PAID St. Petersburg, FL

Montessori Leadership March 2013  

The is the March 2013 issue of Montessori Leadership magazine.

Montessori Leadership March 2013  

The is the March 2013 issue of Montessori Leadership magazine.