What is Montessori?

“The child has one intuitive aim: his self-development. He desperately wants to develop his inner resources: his abilities to cope with a strange, complex world. He wants to do and learn and see for himself, and not through the eyes of an adult. The child who accomplishes this moves into harmony with the rest of the world. He becomes a full person.” – Maria Montessori

Who is Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy, having graduated from the University of Rome at the turn of the 20th century. Her pediatric residency was taken in an institution for children who were thought to be “mentally deficient.” As a keen scientific observer, she realized that these children were hungry to learn, if only they could have objects to teach them. She translated the studies conducted by two French doctors, John Itard and Edward Sequin, into Italian and began making the same materials and creating more than they had used in France with atypical children. After several years of using the new materials, more than half of her children passed tests to enter public school, and the world sat up and took notice of this young Italian physician.

What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education is a natural way of learning for young children. Through the five senses, the child in their first six years absorbs their environment like a sponge. They teach themselves in their native tongue (and often other languages), forms their basic personality, sets up their emotional framework for the rest of their life and begins their acquisition of knowledge. The Montessori classroom builds upon their first years at home and provides hundreds of concrete, hands-on materials through which the child may learn, organize and create their reality.

History of MTP

  • 1969:  Don and Sharlet McClurkin first encounter a Montessori school in Seattle, WA referred by a family friend for their 2 1/2 year old son
  • 1970: Moving back to Kansas City, MO, Sharlet attends a 5 week summer intensive training course given by the Montessori Institute of America (MIA)
  • 1972: Sharlet receives her teaching certificate from MIA for the 2 1/2 to 6 level and Montessori Plus School, a non-profit corporation begins in Kansas
  • 1973: Sharlet receives permission from the board of MIA to begin training programs in Topeka, KS and the McClurkins establish Montessori Teacher Preparation (MTP). Sharlet begins serving on the MIA Board of Directors as President and/or Educational Director and continues for over 40 years
  • 1978: Montessori Plus purchases a building and opens 4 classrooms
  • 1980:  The McClurkins return to Pacific Northwest with no prospective job or school, they leave the Midwest with their 3 children ages 12, 14, and 18
  • 1981: The McClurkins host a Montessori introductory summer class where 20 children as well as 10 adults enroll, held in a public elementary school in Kent, WA
  • 1982: Don McClurkin takes the MIA 2 1/2 to 6 level course
  • 1982: MTP holds classes in Spokane, WA which continue for 3 years
  • 1984: The McClurkins take Dr. Sophia Cavialetti’s “Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd” training course in St. Paul, MN
  • 1985: MTP holds classes for the 2 1/2 to 6 level in North Seattle, Ballard, Lake City, Bellevue and Kent, WA which continue for 3 years
  • 1989: MTP creates DVD courses to begin a Montessori training in Taiwan
  • 1990: The McClurkins begin visiting Korea and China to hold introductory training sessions, providing lectures at Universities and Montessori schools and continue to travel overseas through 2006
  • 1991: MTP is certified by SEVP and begins offering I-20s to qualified students and holds summer international courses in Kent, WA. Sharlet represents MIA as a commissioner in the newly-formed MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education), the national accreditation organization for Montessori training programs
  • 1997: Sharlet takes the AMS Birth to 3 course in Seattle, WA
  • 1998: Sharlet and Christine Munn, MIA and AMS Birth to 3 trainer, hold a summer bilingual Birth to 3 course in Kent, WA
  • 2002: MTP begins distance learning courses in the Philippines
  • 2002: MTP begins the 10 month course in Kent and Everett in the Korean language
  • 2003: The McClurkin travel to Sri Lanka to hold introductory training sessions
  • 2004: Montessori Plus/MTP purchases a 1-acre property in East Kent. The new school opens in 2005 with 4 classrooms
  • 2007: MTP holds training courses in China
  • 2010: MTP opens new training program in China
  • 2011 to Present: MTP holds international training programs in the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Vietnam
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