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On International Women’s Day, which took place on the 8th of March 2019, Montessori St. Nicholas (MSN) held an event at the House of Lords to celebrate Maria Montessori and her legacy as an educator. We wanted to raise awareness of Maria Montessori’s pioneering life and the role the Montessori approach has in shaping future leaders and supporting equality. She was an early woman pioneer and this year marks the 100th anniversary of her first official visit to London.
Maria Montessori was a feminist and a fighter for women’s rights for all of her life and being able to host a reception at the House of Lords to celebrate her life and work on International Women’s Day, 100 years since she first came to the UK, carries special significance for us.
Lord Nicholas True welcomed leading Montessori professionals and Leonor Stjepic, CEO of Montessori St Nicholas, introduced the day. Speakers included:
Barbara Isaacs, Montessori Global Ambassador, who presented a celebration of Maria Montessori’s life and timeline in a series of images and quotes.
Judith Cunningham, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Montessori Model UN, who discussed her work with young people with the Montessori Movement United nations
Amira Al-agher and Kate Unsworth, former MCI students, talked about how they will promote Montessori’s vision of the child as an agent of change following their recent qualifications
Leonor Stjepic, CEO of The Montessori St Nicholas Group said: “I am proud to have been part of these special celebrations at the House of Lords celebrating Maria Montessori and marking one hundred years of Montessori training in the UK. We salute her legacy and continue to campaign for quality early years provision for children and their families. Thank you to all who attended this event and a very special thanks to Barbara, Judith, Amira and Kate for sharing their journey and experience with us.”
Not only does this year mark over 20 years of quality training by its training college – Montessori Centre International (MCI) – but it also started a year of celebration and commemoration of 100 years since Dr Maria Montessori’s first official visit to the UK. The training Maria Montessori gave to students in 1919 became the standard training for Montessori teachers.
Founded in 1946, the Montessori St Nicholas Group connects the UK Montessori community of over 700 pre-schools, nurseries and schools and 4,000 early years teachers, as well as leading charitable projects to sustain the Montessori community in the UK. Montessori St Nicholas (MSN) is the group’s charity that carries out social impact work, Montessori Centre International (MCI) provides training to those interested in applying Montessori principles to early years’ education, the Montessori Schools Association (MSA) is a membership organisation for those working in the Montessori field and those interested in Montessori education and MEAB was established in 2008 as the first Montessori accreditation board which guarantees the quality of Montessori settings.
The charity also provides grant-funded opportunities for teachers and potential Montessori practitioners or beneficiaries including Centrepoint, the Alzheimer’s Society, the First Light Trust and Somebody’s Child Soldier. 2019 marks 100 years of Montessori training in the UK, and to celebrate this landmark year the charity will be creating a new children’s garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.