Welcome to the website for Montessori Schools of Connecticut (MSC)!
Montessori Schools of Connecticut is an association of independent and public Montessori schools that have committed to Montessori education. The only membership requirement for MSC schools is that they must be accredited or affiliated with one of the two largest International Montessori teaching and accrediting organizations committed to maintaining higher standards for Montessori education.
“Real” Montessori Education
Dr. Maria Montessori, never patented or trademarked any of her specially designed teaching materials or teaching methodology. She believed her work was the beginning to a very important movement in the advancement of education. She wanted her successors to collaborate and cooperate to evolve the method without being encumbered by legal constraints. While this vision has led to progression and evolution of her work in quality Montessori schools, it has also opened the door for unscrupulous operators to claim to be Montessori schools when they are not. The easiest way to determine if a school is a “real” Montessori school is to determine if they are accredited by or affiliated with one of the two International Montessori Accrediting and teacher training organizations; American Montessori Society (AMS) and Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
Accreditation or affiliation is a pre-requisite for MSC membership. Therefore, all the Montessori schools on this website have committed to a higher standard of Montessori education. There may be other quality Montessori schools in Connecticut that have chosen not to be accredited or affiliated with AMS, AMI or MSC. They are not represented on this site.
AMS versus AMI
American Montessori Society (AMS), the larger of the two International Montessori associations affords accredited and affiliated schools more freedom in their interpretation of Montessori philosophy and method. Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) affords their accredited and affiliated schools less freedom in their interpretation of Montessori philosophy and method. While both AMS and AMI schools achieve comparable outcomes for students, you will observe a difference in the tone, feeling or culture of the classrooms in the two types of schools. One is not better than the other but they are different. If you have a choice, you should visit both types of schools to determine which culture you prefer.
Accreditation and Affiliation
School Accreditation is the highest form of validation that a school offers high quality education. The accreditation process consists of a year long “self-study” through which schools compare themselves to quality standards established by the accrediting agency. As part of the self-study, the school prepares a multi-year plan for the development and execution of quality enhancements. The school is visited by an independent accreditation team that validates that quality standards are met and the school has a well defined plan for continuous quality improvement. School Affiliation is a voluntary commitment by a school to follow the quality standards established by the agency granting the affiliation. Actual adherence to the quality standards is not independently verified and therefore affiliation is a lower standard than accreditation.
As noted before, Montessori schools can be accredited by AMS or AMI for their adherence to Montessori methods and philosophy. Most MSC schools are also accredited by one or more organizations that accredit non-Montessori schools. They do this to validate the quality of education is better or equal to the quality of education in traditional education private schools. Links to the traditional education accrediting organizations associated with MSC schools are: Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) , New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Independent Schools, Public Schools
All Montessori schools in the State of Connecticut are either Independent schools or public magnet schools. While most independent Montessori schools in Connecticut have a single campus, a few have more than one campus. Each independent school is a separate corporation (usually not-for-profit), has its own name and its own form of governance. MSC was founded by a group of Independent School Heads who determined it was mutually beneficial to support one another. Since all the Montessori schools in Connecticut are independent and geographically dispersed, each one has a unique culture that is only truly revealed when you visit the school. Therefore, you owe it to your child to visit more than one Montessori school.
The mission of the Montessori Schools of Connecticut is to unite the State’s independent and public Montessori Schools to the common purpose of promoting high quality Montessori education through cooperative and collaborative work.
MSC was first organized by a group of Independent Montessori school Heads to collaborate on issues related to running Montessori schools and speaking with one voice to the various State Agencies in Hartford relating to Education, Early Childhood and Families. Membership in MSC is voluntary. The Board of Directors is a volunteer group of Heads of Schools. MSC hosts an annual teacher training conference, five bi-monthly Head of School networking/sharing meetings, this website and a general sense of support and collegiality for Heads of Montessori Schools. If you are the Head of a Montessori School in Connecticut and would like your school to join MSC – or for more information please click here.