'Prince George effect' on Montessori

Jo Parkes
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The popularity of Montessori nurseries has rocketed because of the Prince George effect.

Parents across the country have been inspired to sign up their children for a princely education since the two-year-old future king was pictured arriving for his first day earlier this month.

Phones have been ringing off the hook at the Maria Montessori Institute, which runs six London schools including three in the affluent Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

‘We always have a lot of interest but there’s definitely been an increase in the number of inquiries of around 65 per cent,’ said a spokesman.

The institute added that two managers at the Westacre Montessori School,which Prince George attends, near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Norfolk mansion, trained with them.

‘Training with us has always been popular and respected but I think the news about Prince George has brought it more into the public consciousness.

‘People who have been considering becoming teachers are thinking, “Oh yes, what about Montessori?”’

The spokesman said the prince would be unlikely to be receiving any special treatment at  Westacre, though the philosophy is designed to tease out individual talents and interests.

‘I wouldn’t expect the other children will be calling him “Prince George”,’ they added.

‘He won’t be treated specially – they’re just children, all special in their own way.’

The spokesman anticipated the prince’s life will involve ‘a lot of travelling’ and he will be equipped early with a ‘love of learning’ and concentration skills.

‘As with all children who attend Montessori, George will learn to become independent, to think for himself, to be considerate to other children and how to respect others, and to have an orderly mind,’ continued the spokesman. ‘His vocabulary will be enriched, his world will be enriched – studies have shown the Montessori experience helps brain function later on.’

Conveniently, the institute is currently opening its sixth school in Holland Park which will help cater for the added interest.

In Bristol, The Clifton Children's House Montessori School reported ‘about double’ the normal number of enquiries.

Nursery manager Mary Lazo, said: ‘One person who was looking around said they were glad they got their visit in early because of Prince George.

‘We've got a waiting list but people are booking for further ahead. I think Prince George attending a Montessori nursery is raising the profile. People are starting to wonder what the approach is about.’

Princes William and Harry attended a Montessori nursery at Mrs Mynors School in west London.

Diana, Princess of Wales, worked at the Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico, central London, which used the educational philosophy.

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