In the spring of 2016 the WMA board met for a retreat. At the retreat the board decided to rewrite the mission and vision statements for the organization. Our new statements are found on the WMA website. Essentially, WMA has made a commitment to informing the public about what the attributes of a high quality Montessori program are. The board decided to find out what type of Montessori implementation is occurring in the state by surveying schools. At the retreat, the board developed a survey that was distributed via Survey Monkey to all the known Montessori programs in the state.
Thirty-seven schools out of a possible 72 Montessori programs responded to the survey. The survey was based on the standards that are set forth by the Association Montessori International (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS). Those standards are:
- Is there a fully trained* lead teacher for the grade level they are teaching?
- Do classrooms have assistant support at least part of the day?
- Is there an uninterrupted three hour work cycle in the morning session?
- Do the classrooms have a full complement of Montessori materials?
- Montessori philosophy an pedagogical standards are followed by the staff and administration.
*Fully trained teachers are those who attend and graduate from a MACTE accredited Montessori training center.
The results showed that the majority of the private and public programs that responded are meeting these standards. The WMA board wants to assist interested schools in Wisconsin to implement Montessori education based on these standards. When a school or program puts the name Montessori in their school or daycare program’s name it is essential to strive to meet these standards. Parents and the general public do not have a full understanding of what an authentic Montessori program is resulting in Montessori education being misrepresented in the public’s view. It is our hope that we can assist programs to meet these standards and strive to provide authentic Montessori education in Wisconsin. Parents should either look for or ask the Montessori school that they are considering for their child if they follow these standards. While parents may be pleased with the education their child is receiving, WMA is concerned that Montessori education is being misrepresented by programs that call themselves Montessori, but do not follow these basic standards.
While we realize training and Montessori materials are very expensive, WMA is committed to bringing resources through state agencies to assist Montessori schools or programs to meet the standards. Our board and team of consultants are willing and ready to visit your program and assist with helping you to achieve high quality Montessori education. When Montessori programs meet these standards, they will be perceived to be high quality by parents and the public.