History: The Montessori Movement

Montessori pedagogical principles are rooted in a deeply humanitarian social movement intended to champion the cause of all children, in all strata of society, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, within and beyond educational institutions.


The Montessori ‘movement’ is recognized to have begun on January 6, 1907 when Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman to become a medical doctor in Italy, opened the first Casa dei Bambini in San Lorenzo in Rome. What followed has been called the "discovery of the child" and her realization that: "...mankind can hope for a solution to its problems, among which the most urgent are those of peace and unity, only by turning its attention and energies to the discovery of the child and to the development of the great potentialities of the human personality in the course of its formation.” (Maria Montessori)


In 1929, Dr. Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). The objectives of the association are to uphold, propagate and further the pedagogical principles and practice formulated by Dr. Maria Montessori for the full development of the human being. Montessori is the single largest pedagogy in the world with over 8,000 schools on 6 continents, with rigorous teacher training available all over the world.

The Montessori ‘movement’ however is far broader and works to assist children and their families in a variety of settings. The American Montessori Society (AMS) was founded in the United States in 1960, by Nancy McCormick Rambusch. In recent years, both AMS and AMI have worked together to make it a priority to extend Montessori education to greater numbers of children in the public sector. In the United States today there are Montessori programs in more than 400 public schools.

Montessorians serve as advocates for all children - championing the rights of the child in society. The Montessori approach to education fosters a feeling of connectedness to all humanity, and encourages a child’s natural desire to make contributions to the world around them.