The Vision of the Christian Montessori Fellowship
When the Fellowship was started in 1983 its mission was to network Christians who were in Montessori schools. There were few Christian Montessori schools in those days and every time one was discovered it was as if a new relative was found. For years, “I thought we were the only one.” was a constant refrain.
We were all fledgling schools trying to navigate what made us both Christian and Montessori. My Montessori friends said, “You can’t be Montessori and Christian.” And my Christian friends said, “You can’t be Christian and Montessori.” We didn’t have friends in either camp – so we created our own.
We began an annual conference to gather together and to share. The 38th annual conference is coming up in January. The conference has always been about fellowship, learning and encouragement. That continues.
There is a lot of spiritual history both inside and out of the fellowship concerning Christian Montessori. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play have been great developments in hands on Bible instruction. The fellowship concentrated on doing regional conferences in addition to the national conference. CMF had conferences from Massachusetts to Hawaii, Washington to Georgia and in between. Slow growth as we discovered new brothers and sisters and Christian Montessori schools. We identified 25 then 50 Christian Montessori schools then 100. As more and more Christian Montessorians decided to start their own schools we found more and more family – 150 then 200. Today we probably can number about 350 schools that do some kind of Christian spiritual formation with their children. Our mailing list grew from maybe a hundred to about a thousand now. Even so, every time we go to a Montessori conference we find dozens of people who have never heard about Christian Montessori.
The cry of the Christian Montessori community for almost twenty years has been teacher training. We began our first efforts in 2009. We spent almost five years in the studio creating didactic videos of all the materials. We have videoed the philosophy lectures. We have gone from dvds to on-line access. We have inaugurated Zoom classes. We are establishing local training centers around the country and the world. We are in the midst of establishing a recognized MACTE certification for our program. (Important for our international training centers.)
What is the vision for Christian Montessori? To transform the world one child at a time through Christian Montessori education. Montessori transforms teachers, transforms children, transforms families. Christian Montessori education is not just about knowledge but about wisdom preparing us not just for time but for eternity.
To reach this goal we need thousands of schools and tens of thousands of classrooms and hundreds of thousands of teachers. Is it a reasonable goal? No, but it is a God given vision to bless the world with the Gospel. Transformed schools are only possible with transformed teachers and Christian Montessori training is a key. What is different about Christian Montessori training is that the training begins with the One who inspired Dr. Montessori. It begins with the theological base of God’s respect and love for the child. The Montessori philosophy of CMF explores her writing, book after book, teaching her Biblical and Christian spiritual values that animated and created this God-given way to teach and nurture children. This is Montessori teaching as it was intended to be.
The training of Christian Montessori teachers is the defining legacy of the work of the fellowship. Helping schools to have, not only trained teachers, but spiritually transformed teachers is the needed step to proclaiming the Gospel all over the world through Christian Montessori education.
Every school is an important beacon. Every excellent program honors the calling that God has given each of us. Traditional Montessori is excellent; Christian Montessori is the fulfillment of the vision God gave to Dr. Montessori. More than once, she admitted to her biographer that “She was convinced that this new method was …placed in her hands for the advancement of the kingdom of God…”
We look to share this vision with you by meeting the needs for trained Christian Montessori teachers.