Our Director of Development, Monica Maling, and I regularly meet with new families and have a conversation about their transition into the Eton School community. I frequently ask those new to Pre-elementary or Lower Elementary whether they were looking for a Montessori school or if they were simply looking for a good school.
Most parents explain that they were looking for a Montessori school, and that they toured and explored several options. Many note that they were surprised to find that there exists a great deal of variety in how schools claiming to be Montessori actually approach educating children. The fact that there is no legal restriction on whether or not a school can identify itself as a Montessori school can be confusing for parents (and the public).
A recent article at Slate, Montessori or Non-tessori?: Is your child's Montessori school actually a Montessori school?, sheds some light on and emphasizes the importance of the distinction of an authentic Montessori program. One straightforward method of identifying an authentic Montessori program is through accreditation. If a school is accredited by either the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the Association Montessori International (AMI), then that school has met rigorous requirements and been thoroughly vetted by that organization. According to the article, there are more than 4,000 schools in the United States which identify themselves as "Montessori"; yet only 204 are AMS-accredited.
At Eton, we are proud of our accreditation through AMS. We are also very proud of our excellent faculty. Monica and I regularly hear from parents how impressed they are with the teachers at Eton. Not only do all the Montessori teachers at Eton have Montessori credentials, they also each have a minimum of a four-year college degree (above and beyond the AMS requirements).While not every school out there is genuinely Montessori, Eton parents can rest assured that their Pre-elementary or Lower Elementary child is enrolled in an authentic and accredited Montessori program.