Meenakshi Sivaramakrishnan is an Indian educator, who has promoted the Montessori method of education in India for the past four decades. An acclaimed authority on the Montessori method, she does not believe in diluting the Montessori philosophy in any manner. Her commitment to the Montessori ideology is total. She has trained hundreds of Montessori adults, many of whom have established Montessori Houses of across India and abroad.
Meenakshi graduated with a BA from Banaras Hindu University. She obtained the AMI Diploma (primary) and the AMI Trainers Certificate from the Association Montessori Internationale, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
After obtaining her AMI Diploma she began her Montessori career in 1966 as the Directress of the Chintana Montessori Home in Chennai. From 1977 to 1979 she served as a full-time course assistant for the Indian Montessori Training Courses (The first Indian Montessori Training Course was conducted by Dr. Maria Montessori herself when she came to India). She was later made the External Examiner for this course and served in this capacity from 1977 to 1987. Osmania University invited her to conduct a series of lectures on the Montessori Method to Post-graduate students of Comparative Education in 1987. In 1988, she was awarded the Training of Trainer's certificate by the AMI. The same year she was appointed the Associate Director of the Indian Montessori Training Courses (IMTC) and went on to become the Director of the IMTC by 1990. Between 1996 and 1998 she was the Director of the Summer Course at the Montessori Training and Research Centre, Hyderabad. In 1998 she took over as the Director of the Chennai Montessori Training Centre and served in this capacity till 2001.
Meenakshi was also the External Examiner for the Pakistan Montessori Foundation at Karachi and Lahore, Shri Jain Mahila Samaj Montessori Training Center at Mumbai, and the International Association for Montessori Progressive at Sri Lanka.
Since 1997 onward she has been Training Directors at the Indian Montessori Centre, Bangalore, India. She has developed an Online Montessori Training Course to reach a wider audience through the internet.
She is the current Secretary General of the Indian Montessori Centre.
Her association with different organisations
Meenakshi was the Member of the Board, Association Montessori Internationale, Amsterdam for three terms. Between 1980–89 she was the Honorary Secretary of the Society for Further Propagation of the Montessori Movement in India (FPMM). She is an ex officio member of the Affiliated Montessori Society, Hyderabad. She has been a member of the Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW). She has been the vice-president of KSCCW since 1996. She is also the member of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, New Delhi since 1997. Meenakshi is a member on the advisory board of many Montessori houses of Children and Montessori Associations in the country.
Meenakshi speaks and writes fluently in English, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Bengali. She has written and edited quite a few Montessori-related books and periodicals over the years. She was the editor for the periodical Voice of Innocence published by the Further Propagation of the Montessori Movement in India (FPMM) and the Indian Montessori Centre (IMC) between 1990 and 1996. She has also edited the following works:
- Towards a Healthy Humanity which is in its third edition
- Gateways to Montessori, Vol I and II also in its third edition
- Mario Montessori Sr. Muses Vol I, II, and III
- Montessori Directress.
Meenakshi has also translated Montessori's popular book The Secret of Childhood into Kannada, and translated another Montessori publication aimed at parents, Take Montessori Home, into Tamil. She has written a bilingual book on Montessori materials entitled Montessori Ubakaranangal.
Conferences, Seminars and Workshops she has been associated with.
Meenakshi has organised and actively participated in conferences, seminars and workshops both within India and abroad. She has conducted Montessori Orientation Programmes for Parents under the auspices of FPMM/IMC in Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore, Changanassery. She attended the International Montessori Congress held in Karachi, Pakistan in 1985, and in Nara, Japan in 1991. She was the member of the organising committee "50 years of Montessori in India" convention in Madras 1989. She was also the member of the organising committee "50 years of Montessori in Pakistan" held in Karachi in 1990. She was the convener of the Seminar on "Human Excellence" held in Bangalore in 1992.
Meenakshi conducted courses for Montessori teachers in Casa Montessori in Hong Kong and Kempinski Lufthansa International School in Beijing, China in 1993. She was the Convenor of the National Seminar on "Child in Society" in Bangalore conducted by the Indian Montessori Centre in 1994. Again in 1997 when the Indian Montessori Centre held another National Seminar, this time on "War on Human Poverty" she was made the Convenor. She was the Chairperson of the First Asian Conference in Montessori Education by the Indian Montessori Centre in Bangalore in 1999. She was the Member of the Organising committee of the conference "Montessori a learning revolution" held in the year 2001 in Chennai. In January 2007 she was the Convenor of the Montessori Congress "Today's Child" held by the Indian Montessori Centre to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First Montessori House of Children 'Casa dei Bambini'.
Meenakshi has conducted several workshops on the Practical and Theoretical aspects of the Montessori method in Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, and Los Angeles, USA. She also gives talks to different audiences, such as Lion's and Rotary's Clubs, to increase awareness and understanding of the Montessori Method. She was invited to give the keynote address for the Montessori Centenary Celebrations conducted by NCERT. She participated in the Panchayati Toofan in Kundapur district conducted by Concerned for Working Children, Bangalore. She also participated in the research programme conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development through the Jnanavahini Vidyakendra, Chintamani at Kolar District of Karnataka.
- AMI Communications Vol 4 (1993), pp. 24
- 1993, AMI Communications, Vol. 2/3 pp. 24
- Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare – Members
- The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : Children can learn from experience, says expert