American Montessori Society
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The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a non-profit, member supported, organization which promotes the use of the Montessori teaching approach in private and public schools.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a nonprofit, member-supported, professional organization based in New York City, NY, with an aim to provide the leadership and inspiration to make Montessori a significant voice in education.
The organization was founded at the Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1960, by a group of parents who realized a need for a clearing house for information about establishing Montessori schools, educating Montessori teachers, and recommending Montessori learning materials. Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch, who had studied Montessori philosophy and practice in London, and was head of the Whitby School, was appointed (by Mario Montessori, son of Dr. Maria Montessori) the American representative of the Association Montessori Internationale, which was headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Dr. Rambusch held this position for several years. She also became the first president of AMS.
Richard A. Ungerer is currently executive director of AMS.
It advocates for the Montessori method in public and private schools throughout the United States, and publishes its own standards and criteria for its accredited member schools. AMS supports research and public policy that advocate for Montessori education. In 2012, It launched an initiative called the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, which assists with the growth and sustainability of Montessori programs in public, charter, and magnet schools across the country. The director is Keith Whitescarver, EdD.
Membership in this organization is voluntary. it currently has 13,000 members hailing from six continents. Members include organizations (schools, teacher education programs) and individuals (program administrators, teachers, parents, child advocates, and others interested in child development and education).
At its Annual Conference in NYC in 2007, AMS celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first Montessori school, the Casa dei Bambini, in Rome, Italy, in 1907. More than 5,000 educators attended. Keynote speakers included Dr. Maya Angelou. The honorary chairperson was U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT).
At its 2010 Annual Conference, held in Boston, Massachusetts, AMS celebrated its 50th anniversary (1960 - 2010). The AMS Annual Conference in San Francisco, California, drew media interest because of the Demonstration Montessori Classroom that allowed visitors to observe elementary students at work in an actual classroom constructed in the conference hotel.
The American Montessori Society Archives are housed at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The multi-media collection reflects the professional and administrative activities of AMS going back to its earliest days, and also provides historical information about the Montessori system of education. The collection is open to the public, and travel grants are provided for qualified researchers.