Originally established in 1954, Montessori St. Nicholas Charity has worked with governments, families, organisations and educators to ensure that the Montessori approach continues to be as beneficial to modern society as it was when originally established by Montessori in the 1900s. Dr Maria Montessori’s vision of an education system that allows individual children to reach their full potential and develop a life-long love of learning is as essential today as it was 100 years ago.
St. Nicholas Montessori Centre was founded as an education trust to maintain the training started by Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child, two former students of Maria Montessori. Based in Princes Gate, London, by 1971 the Centre held full-time, part-time and Saturday courses for Montessori educators. It also established a successful Montessori setting for resident students and children. In 1978, Bridget Birts took on the leadership of St Nicholas, serving the Montessori community until 1983.
St. Nicholas Montessori Centre continued to expand and flourish, celebrating 50 years of training in 1996. In 1998 the London Montessori Centre founded by Lesley Britton and Montessori St Nicholas Charity, formed Montessori Centre International – merging the work of two internationally acclaimed Montessori centres.
More recently in 2020, Montessori St. Nicholas Charity partnered with Leeds Beckett University (LBU) to create the International Montessori Institute, with a focus on quality research and embedding Montessori methods into mainstream education. The International Montessori Institute will professionalise Montessori education and further enhance the academic status of Early Years.
The Montessori St. Nicholas Charity continues to evolve and grow through global collaboration and partnerships. In a rapidly changing world, undergoing a digital revolution, with the consequences for humanity as far-reaching as those of the industrial revolution, Montessori prepares children for the world in which they are growing up. From learning the skills needed for future work, to an understanding of the necessity of respecting the natural world around us; from respect for the diversity of others to self-confidence and emotional resilience – Montessori St. Nicholas Charity remains committed to positively influencing the position and recognition of the value that Montessori can bring to educational practice worldwide.