Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She also studied engineering, and did advanced studies in anthropology. She then immersed herself in the study of children and how they learn, and contributed greatly to the burgeoning field of child psychology. She first worked with developmentally disabled children and devised new materials and methods to help them learn. Later she turned her attention to all children and applied her skills, talents and experiences to create what is known as “The Montessori Method.”
She held a deep belief in the potential of each child to develop their intellectual, emotional and physical powers, with a balance of freedom of work through fostering self-discipline. She trained teachers, supervised programs for children, wrote numerous books about her theories, was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and gave birth to an international movement for peace and education which has evolved and flourished.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experience in the environment.”
“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence"
“Free choice is one of the highest of all the mental processes”
“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.”
“We must learn to call upon the man which lies dormant in the soul of a child.”
What AMI Accreditation Means
"Montessori" is not a trademark or a franchise; any institution can hang a shingle over its door and claim to offer a Montessori education.
So how can parents tell whether a Montessori school is authentic?
Doctors have the AMA; architects the AIA; engineers the IEEE. Surely there is an organization for Montessori teachers who combine a doctor's awareness of neural development, an architect's careful artistry in construction, and an engineer's keen, logical approach to problem-solving.
There is: AMI, the Associate Montessori Internationale. Founded by Dr. Montessori herself in 1929. AMI is the most diligent of the various Montessorian organizations in ensuring that Montessori schools and teachers are both well-grounded in the basic principles of the method and ready to carry those principles forward in the modern educational world. AMI offers teacher training and conferences, approves the production of Montessori materials and books, and, through their AMI-USA branch office, accredits schools.
Juneau Montessori School is the only school recognized by AMI-USA in Alaska.
To receive AMI Recognition, each classroom in the school must have:
- A fully-trained teacher who has completed AMI's year-long training program,
- A complete set of authorized Montessori classroom materials,
- A three-year range of ages within the single classroom, and
- An uninterrupted three-hour work cycle each morning.
Schools receive an outside consultation from an experienced AMI teacher every three years, verifying that these requirements are met and offering suggestions to help school staff further refine the program.
Every three years, trained consultants evaluate AMI schools at each level as a part of the ongoing school accreditation process.
Words from Maria Montessori