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October 1st through December 17th, 2014


An Overview of Montessori Principles and Curriculum from Infant Toddler through High School

The course is designed for present and prospective Montessori teachers, Heads of Schools (especially those who are not formally trained as Montessori educators), and very interested parents. It is also popular with certified Montessori teachers who would like a fresh perspective, as well as teachers in conventional classrooms who would like to gain a deeper understanding of Montessori education. You can download the syllabus here.



This course has been developed for a number of reasons. Over the years, it has become clear that there are many people who would like to know more about Montessori education than can be easily gleaned from their own reading.

The first group for which this course has been tailored are owners and non-teaching administrators of Montessori Schools who do not have formal Montessori training. While often highly qualified in regular or conventional education, these school leaders may find the classroom practices of their staff somewhat strange and, frankly, often inconsistent with their own understanding or commonly held notions of good educational practice. Similarly, school administrative and support staff often only have a cursory understanding of the principles on which the approach is based, but they are nonetheless, regularly in a position where they need to promote or support practices which confound them. This course is intended to provide insight for non-teaching and support staff as well as assistants.

Parents, attracted to some aspects of Montessori, are confused by others. Sometimes, parents want deeper understanding of Montessori and are looking for a reliable, neutral source.

The abundance of information available on the internet is both a boon and a challenge. It is virtually impossible for someone new to Montessori to sift what is genuine and useful Montessori information from that which is confused, misleading, or simply one individual’s opinion.

The attempt to arrive at some clear, universal understanding of exactly what “Montessori” actually means (and the associated discord resulting from that) has plagued the development of the Montessori approach from the outset. Even in Montessori’s day, people applied certain aspects of her work, amended some aspects, and completely omitted others. Various Montessori associations and training organisations have presented different approaches. Sometimes, the differences have been significant; sometimes, they are merely nuances for principles which are fundamentally the same.

These variations can be seen positively as a source of strength, as the means by which the system can be developed, strengthened, and new ideas and discoveries incorporated into what could, potentially, become a stagnant and dated approach. On the other hand, diversity can lead to discord and confrontation, as proponents of different interpretations lobby for one or the other approach to be recognised as the one and only truth.

This course does not seek to convince anyone that one approach to Montessori is the correct one. We will not recognise or uphold any interpretation as gospel; however, we will examine what Dr. Montessori wrote, said, and did in an attempt to fully understand how Montessori is practised today. This will require that we fully unpack the assumptions that filter our understanding. Even if we revert to Dr. Montessori’s own writings, as we will do often in the course of the coming weeks, it quickly becomes clear that her own views evolved over time. To make a definitive statement on how Dr. Montessori would have approached any topic is fraught with difficulty, not least of which is the fact that, unless one is able to read the original Italian, we are dealing with translations from the Italian. A possibly less easy to recognise challenge is that everything passes through a sieve of our own existing knowledge and bias (and this has already happened at least once in the process of translation - not only in terms of language but in terms of conceptual and contextual interpretation).

This is quite a lofty goal. The rationale is that by unraveling those aspects of popular understanding and daily practice of Montessori, which originated in her own works, from the overlays of other paradigms, it will become easier to understand what is actually happening in Montessori schools and to express our experiences and views in ways that are unambiguous and faithful to the original vision and yet understandable by those who do not have a detailed knowledge of Montessori. What, really, is the place of Montessori in the current educational milieu, and does it have a meaningful contribution to make in education reform and transformation?

This course is, then, an attempt at finding clarity and harmony in diversity, while recognising the value of the tension between purity of vision and the complexity inherent in the application thereof.

More simply put, we will look at what makes what we do “Montessori” (as opposed to something else), we ask "what are the fundamental principles that cannot be changed?" We will also examine variations on that, in a non-partisan way, so that those associated with schools from different positions on the Montessori spectrum will be able to recognise what is and what isn’t best practice. It will then be easier to clearly see the implications of the various “analytical lenses” through which the rest of the world views our schools.

With this in mind, we have identified a third potential interest group: Montessori educators who would like to explore explore aspects of Montessori which they may not have encountered in their own training. This will give them the opportunity to look at familiar issues from a different perspective or simply find new inspiration.


The course is designed to be a prepared learning environment for self-directed adults. Using a wide range of different resources, pitched at different levels, and chosen to stimulate discussion and enquiry rather than simply delivering information, we offer a syllabus that is both broad in its sweep, while allowing participants to delve more deeply into those areas that are most relevant and interesting to them. Content is chosen to provide a balance of simple and clear explanations on one hand and challenging, somewhat controversial, interpretations on the other. We can guarantee one thing: It won’t be boring, and every participant will be challenged to confront his or her own understanding of Dr. Montessori 's work

The course is designed to be flexible in order to accommodate the needs of still other cohorts with different backgrounds and needs:

  • Non-Montessori trained staff of Montessori schools
  • Parents of children in Montessori schools
  • Teachers in non-Montessori schools
  • Faculty members of university Schools of Education who want a deeper understanding of Montessori
  • Staff of alternative schools interested in exploring Montessori
  • Homeschoolers


Tim SeldinTIM SELDIN, M.Ed. is the President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. His almost forty years of experience in Montessori education includes twenty-two years as Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, MD, his own alma mater (age two through high school graduation). He has also served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and as Head of the New Gate School in Sarasota, Florida.  He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University, and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Tim Seldin is the author of several books on Montessori Education, including his latest, How to Raise An Amazing Child; The Montessori Way with Dr. Paul Epstein; Building a World-class Montessori School; Finding the Perfect Match - Recruit and Retain Your Ideal Enrollment; Master Teachers - Model Programs; Starting a New Montessori School, Celebrations of Life, and The World in the Palm of Her Hand.


How to Apply:

You can register online or mail your application and payment by credit card or check (drawn against a US bank) in to us at The Montessori Foundation, 19600 State Road 64 East, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Please make checks payable to The Montessori Foundation.

You can scan and email your application (with payment by Mastercard, Visa or American Express) to the Montessori Foundation at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or fax it to us at 1-941-745-3111. If you need to arrange a wire transfer, please email or call for instructions.

For more information about or to apply for admission to one of our programs, please contact us. Contact Details .

Registration Fees:

Non-IMC Members: $1,250 for the first person from a school/$1,000 for each additional person enrolling from the same school.

Members of the International Montessori Council (IMC): Participants sponsored by a school that is a member of the International Montessori Council, receive a substantial discount: $950 for the first person enrolled from an IMC affiliated school/$800 for each additional participant enrolling from the same IMC member school.

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Overview of Montessori principles and curriculum

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12 week courses

*Revised and updated *

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Overview of Montessori principles and curriculum

(for non-Montessori trained heads of Montessori schools)



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