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Centenary Book: History of Montessori in Australia


We are most excited to bring you the news that the Montessori Australia Foundation has commissioned a book to commemorate the 2013 Centenary of Montessori in Australia. The book "Montessori The...Read more.

Author Dr Susan Feez

Susan Feez is a lecturer in English and Literacies Education at the University of New England. Susan has worked as a classroom teacher of language, literacy and TESOL across the primary, secondary...Read more.


When published in October, the book will be sold through the online book store Montessori Books for a RRP of $59.95.Read more.


In the first decade of the twentieth century in Rome Dr Maria Montessori initiated an experiment in pedagogy for children of the urban poor. This ‘experiment’ was so successful it very quickly...Read more.

Chapter 1. An enduring educational tradition

For over a century, and across the world, the Montessori approach has resisted obsolescence, making it an oddity amongst the educational choices available to parents and teachers today. This...Read more.

Chapter 2. A shared European heritage

This chapter sketches the provenance of Montessori education, from European enlightenment philosophy, via social reformers of the nineteenth century to Dr Montessori’s own development as an...Read more.

Chapter 3. International travellers

This chapter talks about the international travellers including the four Australian women who took part in the 1913 international Montessori training course in Rome - Rhoda Selfe, Norma Selfe,...Read more.

Chapter 4. Martha Simpson

The educational leader who stands out as the earliest and, it could be argued, the most influential proponent of Montessori education in Australia was Martha Margaret Mildred Simpson (1865–1948...Read more.

Chapter 5. Swimming against the tide

We follow the next steps in the four Australian trained Montessorians and introduce the story of Lillian de Lissa who joined Dr Montessori's second training course. While they returned to...Read more.

Chapter 6. Immigration and the baby boom

As the first generation of Australian Montessorians grew older and began to retire, the Depression and World War II prevented a new generation of Australian teachers from travelling to Europe to...Read more.

Chapter 7. Training at home and abroad

A key factor restricting the expansion of Australian Montessori schools over the last hundred years has been an ongoing shortage of trained Montessori teachers, a consequence of

the tyranny...Read more.

Chapter 8. Philanthropy and social justice

The early twentieth-century pioneers of Montessori education in Australia, like Maria Montessori herself, were working in an era when early childhood educators saw themselves as

social...Read more.

Chapter 9: Parents, a vision and a church hall

This chapter describes a state-by-state overview of the growth of Montessori schools in Australia from the 1970s to the present.Read more.

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