American Montessori Society

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American Montessori Society
American Montessori Society logo.png
MottoThe American Montessori Society envisions a world in which quality Montessori education is widely recognized, highly desired, and accessible to all.
FormationSeptember 1960
TypeNon-governmental organization
PurposeEducational accreditation
HeadquartersNew York City, NY
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Timothy Purnell

The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a New York City-based nonprofit, member-supported organization which promotes the use of the Montessori teaching approach in private and public schools. The American Montessori Society 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.


The American Montessori Society (AMS) is a nonprofit, member-supported, professional organization based in New York City, with an aim to provide the leadership and inspiration to make Montessori a known branch of education.

Name Position Term Held Life Span
Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch AMI American Representative 67 years

(1927- 1994)

AMS President (1960-1963)

The organization was founded at the Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1958. The organization originated by a group of Catholic parents who idealized Montessori teaching methods and schools.[1] Due to the increase in interest with Montessori education, teaching the curriculum to new teaching staff was essential. Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch, who had studied Montessori philosophy and practice in London, and was the first headmistress of the Whitby School,[2] was appointed the American representative of the Association Montessori Internationale by Mario Montessori, son of Maria Montessori. The Association Montessori Internationale is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Six months later, Rambusch was appointed the first president of the American Montessori Society.

In 2012, AMS 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.[3]

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 poet Maya Angelou. The honorary chairperson was U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT).[citation needed]

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.

AMS-Affiliated Teacher Education Programs[edit]

Teacher education programs (TEPs) affiliated with the American Montessori Society[which?] provide courses for people who want to be Montessori teachers.

Use of Montessori terminology[edit]

In 1967, the US Patent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that "the term 'Montessori' has a generic and/or descriptive significance."[29] Therefore, in the United States and around the world, the term can be used freely without giving any guarantee of how closely, if at all, a program applies Montessori's work. The ruling has led to "tremendous variation in schools claiming to use Maria Montessori’s methods."[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AMS & the Montessori Movement | American Montessori Society". Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  2. ^ School, Whitby. "Whitby School | Private International Baccalaureate Schools, CT". Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  3. ^ "Keith Whitescarver | National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector". Retrieved 2016-04-25.