We Brought Montessori to the Henley on Thames Area

Jennifer Blain, Founder and Principal of the Denning Montessori School, brought the Montessori Method and Philosophy to the Henley on Thames area, nearly a quarter of a century ago. We were Henley's first Montessori school.

Montessori is both a method of education and also a philosophy created by Dr Maria Montessori, who was one of Italy’s very first doctors of medicine. She was a visionary, a scientist who made many discoveries, and also a person who held strong personal beliefs, and had a philosophy that at its core, was about having better lives and making the world a better place.

Sadly the name “Montessori” is not owned or controlled by any one organisation. Many nursery schools who use the name Montessori, are not Montessori either in their approach or philosophy. There are many different Montessori related organisations in the world, some remain frozen in time, as if everything Montessori is like a religious text. We believe however that as a scientist Maria Montessori, would embrace progress, advancement, new thinking and new ideas, adapting to the modern world. Many of her discoveries and ideas are accepted as normal, and are used in regular schools around the world, most of which have no idea that the ideas they embrace came from Maria Montessori.

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Maria Montessori - Education and Peace

Some of Maria Montessori’s ideas are:

  1. Children learn by doing better than by being told.
  2. Children learn at different rates and at different times and often in different ways.
  3. Children are capable of far more than most people imagine they are.
  4. Each child is different and unique and needs to be treated as a unique individuals.
  5. Children need to be taught to look after each other and the environment and to be good people and citizens.
  6. Children need to learn about different cultures early so they can grow up without prejudices.
  7. Children are able to function better in child friendly environments, with child sized furniture.
  8. Learning social skills are as important as learning academic skills in the early years.
  9. A child’s spirit should never be crushed, their uniqueness and identity should be nurtured.
  10. Children’s growth and development is not linear, it goes through stages, and each child needs to be supported through those stages individually

Maria Montessori started off working with handicapped children that society had written off, she made lots of profound discoveries and experimented continually, devising equipment and exercises that would enable to children to learn, grow and develop in the most effective way. Good Montessori Schools will still have much of the equipment and exercises that she developed, which also include “practical life exercises”, like learning to tie shoe laces, or pour, or do up fastenings, or do the washing up etc. There is often multiples benefits of different exercises, using tongs for example can help prepare children for holding pens or pencils. In terms of academic subjects there are multiple exercises and pieces of equipment that make learning highly interesting, effective and fun, with progression from easy to hard, from early years through to primary level, and even beyond that.

Google Founders Credit Their Success to Their Montessori Education

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We were Henley on Thames's First Accredited Montessori School

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One of the UK's Top Montessorians Said Our School Should Be Renamed "Paradise Montessori"

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Jenny Blain in the Centre - Barbara Isaacs on the Right

On visiting the Denning Montessori School, Barbara Isaacs who is one of the UK's top Montessorians said the Denning Montessori School should be rename "Paradise Montessori", because it is "Paradise, Montessori how Montessori is meant to be".

Famous People Who Attended Montessori Schools

  1. Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founders of Google
  2. Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon.com
  3. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
  4. Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs – singer
  5. Prince William and Prince Harry
  6. T. Berry Brazelton – pediatrician and author
  7. Julia Child – author, chef, TV cooking shows
  8. Elizabeth Berridge – actress
  9. Kami Cotler – actress
  10. Melissa and Sarah Gilbert – actors
  11. Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  12. Katherine Graham – ex-owner of the Washington Post
  13. Anne Frank – author, diarist from World War II

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Says Montessori is Good at Teaching Independent Thinking

Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) is talking education, mentioning that Montessori schools are doing a better job than most in teaching independent thinking – watch from 11:20, Montessori us mentioned at 13.12, or the whole interview – it’s worth it!

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