At Work and at Play | Montessori musings

When I decided to open my preschool a few years ago, I was not sure what type of educational curriculum I should implement; I wanted to make it an exciting environment that parents would want their children to be involved in. My son went to a Montessori nursery school in London before we moved to Copenhagen, and this experience literally changed him.

Within six months of attending the school, he became more articulate, played in a more experimental way, developed a deeper awareness of his peers, and generally seemed more open and curious about whatever and who ever he encountered. I give all the credit to the Montessori method. After all, it is the single largest pedagogy in the world with over 22,000 schools on six continents and in 110 countries. So it must be doing something right. Even Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, retrace their creative beginnings and self-motivation to their Montessori schooling years.

Despite this, the Montessori educational approach is not very well known in Denmark. Most foreign parents or Danes who have lived abroad have either heard of, experienced or know someone who attended a Montessori school. Whereas most Danish parents hear of Montessori for the first time when I speak to them about what I do, Denmark’s Nordic neighbours have a large number of Montessori establishments, with Sweden having the most fervour for the method. In Denmark, there are two Montessori establishments with certified AMI teachers (Association Montessori International) – The Little Montessori School in Lyngby and my own, Montessori International Preschool, in Copenhagen. A few other Danish institutions have the Montessori name but they do not use the method.

Why is this? Did something happen along the way that gave Montessori a bad name? Or did people not fully understand its amazing impact on childrenÂ’s education? Its popularity was high for a while, and Denmark even had a Montessori teacher-training centre. But it closed in 1989 and awareness of Montessori slowly disappeared from the local consciousness. All of this while more and more Montessori establishments were being opened at a rapid pace elsewhere in the world. It seems very strange to me that it is not more established in Denmark as many of its principles seem to match the Danish ones, especially regarding social awareness and freedom.

In any case, I completely embrace Montessori, and I have given myself the challenge of popularising this educational method in Denmark again so that parents can witness their little ones happily growing and developing a real love of learning.

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