SEATTLE, WA: Providers of Montessori education in the U.S. convened at the end of October in Seattle to review groundbreaking research into parent perceptions and identify opportunities for collaboration to increase the accessibility of their teaching method and the impact of its approach.

In 2017, Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) undertook research in the United States to learn directly from Montessori parents. The goal of this research was to better understand why parents choose Montessori. Five focus groups of Montessori parents explored their thoughts about ideal child development and early education, generating concepts and language that were then explored further through a national online survey. While numerous important insights were gained, three key areas stand out where Montessori can provide the highest value:

1. Helping children develop into capable individuals by focusing on their moral, behavioral and emotional development;

2. Engaging and supporting the highest quality teachers to facilitate that development; and,

3. Bringing parents into the Montessori experience so they can understand the process and aid in their child’s growth.

These findings prepare the Montessori community to meet parents where they are with clear and compelling communications about the value of Montessori education to children, schools, parents and society. Among the organizations present were:

· Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)

· AMI/USA

· American Montessori Society

· Trust for Learning

· North American Montessori Teachers Association

· Montessori Administrators Association

· National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector

· Montessori Foundation

· AMI Elementary Alumni Association

· Montessori Educational Programs International

· Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education

· Montessori Institute of North Texas

· Higher Ground Education

· Wildflower Schools

In addition to the research presentation, the Seattle gathering focused on building a collaborative effort in the Montessori community to implement consistent messaging based on the findings. Increasing public understanding of the value of Montessori will capitalize on the strong brand that already exists and encourage more parents to seek Montessori as the preferred education approach for their child. "Time is of the essence and Montessori organizations will meet in December to identify a collaborative communications strategy in order to effectively inform the US Montessori network of these new insights and reach parents who are looking for an effective and supportive educational experience for their child,” added Lawrence.

The goal of expanding Montessori’s reach and impact nationwide is shared across organizations in the Montessori community. The gathering in Seattle reinforced this collective commitment to broaden Montessori’s presence in the U.S. and coordinate outreach and messaging efforts in order to communicate the tremendous value to parents and community stakeholders. AMI will share the research (undertaken by the Neimand Collaborative) with the whole Montessori community in the months to come.