Skip to main content
"A great blog that is fun, interesting and informative. Packed full of information on a range of topics. I love their sense of humor while they are providing well informed and thought out answers to your questions. All in all a great read for any parent!"--Christine Howard.


Proud affiliate of Montessori Services!

Maria Montessori Would Turn Over In Her Grave!


Maria Montessori Would Turn Over In Her Grave! {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}
Photo by Roberto Valdes


A few years ago, I was asked the "traditional Montessori" question from a new Montessori mom. She heard the following comment at the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, PA:

"Maria Montessori would turn over in her grave if she knew what some of the schools bearing her name were doing."

She then told me: "I do not know what they were referring to, but I highly respect their work, so I want to stick to traditional Montessori methods... I would like to hear your views on this subject given your extended experience."

Here is my view: I think Maria Montessori would turn over in her grave if she knew what traditional Montessori schools were NOT doing!

Let me back up.

I was trained by a Montessori headmistress who was Internationally trained in London, and after my training, I was at a Montessori school for 20 years whose director was American Montessori trained.

Over the years, we had many children who had behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and or were just "a challenge" to teach... (We accepted some of the most difficult children in the county! And those were the children who, in the end, taught us the most!)

We had a choice, kick those children out of the school because they did not "fit in" to the traditional, purist style of our Montessori classroom, or make modifications so these challenging children could stay and learn, but more importantly, love learning.

The school, thus, became a progressive Montessori school.

Forward to the present.

When I had a son with Down syndrome in 2004, I was faced with the following question: would he be accepted in a Montessori school? would he fit in?

So I went about observing (visiting) the Montessori schools in my area for a toddler program for my son. Two of those schools were traditional International Montessori schools, and one was an American Montessori school, and progressive.

The traditional International Montessori schools were the most expensive, had little or no cultural diversity, and I saw right away that my son would not fit in: the expectations and standards of the classrooms were too high for him due to his special needs.

The third school, an American Montessori school, was much more affordable, had lots of diverse students, and after observing, I saw right away that my son would be a great match, that he would have some "wiggle room" and not stand out among the typically developing toddlers. (And as Montessori trained teacher, I knew right away that this Montessori school was "authentic": they had all the materials you would find in any certified American Montessori school, with Montessori trained teachers, but they had a progressive approach.

The director agreed with me, that a Montessori classroom's activities can be modified to fit the needs of the children (special, difficult, or just different) and not the other way around. And it became a wonderful Montessori school for my son, who welcomed him with open arms, regardless of his "limitations" due to his Down syndrome.

Maria Montessori designed her materials with the help of her observations of the children of her time, and she would expect us to do the same, especially for special needs children, who were her biggest influence!

So keep an open mind and don't be afraid of going down a different path, a path that is sometimes chosen for you, as mine was when I had a special needs son. For most, a traditional Montessori path is fine, but for others, it is not.

Some Montessori books I recommend for further reading that may interest you:
1. Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful: Preventing Exclusion in the Early Elementary Classroom
Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius
2. How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way
3. Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

See also my recommendations for books about Montessori education here.

Let's get social:

Will work for comments! You can leave your comments and questions on my Facebook page! Make sure to include your blog link or Facebook page URL so I can comment back! {http://www.facebook.com/LisaNolanMontessori}

You may also be interested in my recommended Montessori and homeschool books for parents and teachers on Amazon.com or my Montessori and homeschool programs for birth to nine-year-olds at Montessori for the Earth.

Popular posts from this blog

Montessori Printables & PDFs

Montessori printables,downloads, and PDFs are an inexpensive to make your own, DIY materials for your homeschool or day care setting! Well I have some terrific resources to share with you from the Montessori mom bloggers of the Montessori Bloggers Network. Want to PIN for later?

Montessori Language & Outline for Ages 3 to 9

I am sharing my Montessori training lecture notes on language, an introduction and outline, for ages three to nine. The most important concept in early language development is that the child has to become aware that language and words are made of sounds. We achieve this with the help of the I Spy Game. The next step is to introduce the symbols that represent these sounds with the help of the Sandpaper Letters.

A Montessori Infant and Toddler Home Environment

I get a lot of questions about how to do Montessori at home with infants and their toddler siblings. So I created a Montessori Infant and Sibling Series. This is part one.
Questions
"How do I organize the work room areas (where all the Montessori-related materials are going to be) including a two-year-old area (such as art section, math section, etc.) and an 11-month-old area of the room?"
"What about their bedrooms and the living room? Which room should I start with first? It's just overwhelming."
"Should I make up a daily schedule first, or organize (plan, shop, and display) all the materials first? And how do I decide what I should put on the shelves for each of my children?"
Want to PIN for later?

How many Montessori materials do you REALLY need in the home?

A Montessori mom recently confessed in my Montessori Facebook group about the constant feeling of needing MORE: more Montessori activities and materials, more quality toys, more art supplies... When do you feel satisfied? When do you have enough!?

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting: A Guest Post by Carolyn Wilhelm of Wise Owl Factory

I recently purchased Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from theTrenches, Lisa Nolan's mom lit parent humor anthology with forty contributing mom bloggers. Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness is very funny and poignant while describing the experiences of the sleep deprived mothers who contributed the chapters. Any young parents needing some comedic relief about their situations would feel less alone and more understood by reading this book. I've already sent it to a young mom who I know will enjoy the writing. The writers are all very talented and many have written other books and/or blogs. They are introduced at the end of the book with links for future reading and enjoyment.
I smiled for days remembering some of the lines in the book such as, "I hear a doggy barking!" spoken by a child trying to delay bedtime. The teacher mom I could so relate with, as both jobs can be exhausting. There are poems and stories, and it is the perfect bed stand book to help parent…
CLICK to subscribe for my 37-page Montessori FAQs PDF