In my view: Celebrate Montessori

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2007 marks the centenary of the opening of the first children's house in Rome and the birth of the Montessori movement. The centenary provides an opportunity to think about what Montessori means in 21st-century Britain.

Certain myths about Montessori education persist.

Myth: Montessori is only sessional provision for pre-school children

Truth: we offer full daycare for children from birth to five integrated with Montessori education and have a school for children aged four to 11.

Myth: Montessori education can be provided merely by buying the materials.

Truth: the Montessori Diploma is a rigorous and academic approach to child development, the environment, the materials and the role of directress.

Myth: Montessori is incompatible with the Foundation Stage.

Truth: Many Montessori nurseries and schools are commended for their commitment to meeting Foundation Stage requirements. A number have been recognised by Ofsted for offering outstanding provision.

Embracing technology is also happening - crucial in an age in which children are surrounded by ICT in their daily lives.

It is important that as a movement, we embrace changing times. Maria Montessori said, 'Many of my works were written at the beginning of my endeavours and refer to scientific theories and experiments that were popular then. Times have changed and so must our work.'

I encourage you to walk into a Montessori classroom this year and be impressed by children deeply absorbed, respectful and diligent. You will also find laughter, conversation and very confident, sociable children.

- Nathan Archer of the children's house and the Montessori School, Lincolnshire.

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