The Montessori Training & Research Trust AMI

Vision & Mission

In an ideal world every child would have access to preschool education that would serve to enrich the child's experiences. An early learning environment that is stimulating, respectful and exciting would form positive impressions in the child that would be a lifelong asset. In an ideal world every child would have a Montessori preschool education.

Dr. Maria Montessori was born in 1870 and was the first woman doctor of medicine and surgery in Italy. From her experiences in the psychiatric clinic in Rome she concluded that intellectual deficiency could be treated by educational approaches rather than merely medical approaches. While working with slum children in Rome, she discovered that sensorial stimulation was applicable to normal children if begun at the age of two and a half years. With this idea growing in her mind she concentrated on developing a revolutionary system of an educational and psychological approach to the young child which at the turn of the 20th century, came to be known as the Montessori Method.

This method is based on the principle of understanding the child as a complete human being in his/her own right at a particular stage of development and, the use of the Montessori apparatus which consists of a set of apparatus designed by Dr. Montessori, which provides a sequential chain for the development of the senses, so that the child is enabled to understand with clarity what the hands touch, what the eyes see and what the ears hear.

The genius that was Dr. Montessori stayed on in India from 1939 to 1946, interred during the course of the war. She commenced her training course in Adyar, laying the foundation for the Montessori movement in India.

The method continues to help children all over the world. Recent research has documented advantages in children who attend Montessori schools. In 1975, Joan Beck wrote a book "How to raise a brighter child?" In 2006, Angeline Lillard wrote a pioneering article in Science "The Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education". This article compared inner city children attending Montessori schools with children in traditional schools. Advantages in cognitive, academic and social skills were seen in children attending Montessori schools. In an interesting Harvard blog post called "Montessori builds Innovators", McAfee, himself a Montessori student, quotes Peter Sims from the Wall Street Journal "There's a "Montessori Mafia" among the creative elite. So maybe there's something to the method Italian Physician Maria Montessori came up with around the turn of the 20th century".

The basis of the method is summarized in Wikipedia whose creator Jimmy Wales was also a Montessori child. The cornerstones of this method are:

  • Mixed-age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 by far the most common.
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options.
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time.
  • A Constructivist or "discovery" model, in which students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction.
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators

Montessori never went out of fashion and now is being researched using modern techniques which state the advantages in no uncertain terms. The main drawback is a lack of trained teachers. The mission of the Montessori Training and Research Trust is to make training accessible to teachers at an affordable cost as much as possible and to disseminate the method to an increasing number of children across India and the globe.