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Fuelling the Flame Within: Montessori Education and the Development of the Self


Steven Hughes is a paediatric neuropsychologist who was so impressed at what he saw in his daughter’s Montessori school – so intrigued at how beautifully the Montessori system reinforces a child’s growth and natural brain development – that he joined the company: lending his considerable ability to the Association Montessori International Global Research Committee and travelling the world to talk about their work.
Last night he spoke to an Auckland audience of 300 about the way Montessori education “fuels the flame” of each child’s unique identity, and how mainstream education helps snuff it out:

Beginning as a tiny spark, the light that shines within a child will, over time, grow to become a steady, strong flame if he or she experiences an environment that recognizes, respects, and fuels it. What are the requisite features of such an environment? What makes Montessori education so effective in “fuelling the flame” of each child’s unique identity?
Part of Dr. Montessori’s genius was her understanding that human development requires different experiences at different stages of development. In this lecture, Dr. Steve Hughes will explore how the environments provided at each plane of Montessori education support the formation of essential aspects of cognitive capabilities known as “executive functions.” These capabilities are necessary for the creation of curious, creative, moral, inspired, and inspiring adults—people in whom the light of identity burns bright and warm.

This is a shorter version of the magical talk we heard last night. I highly recommend it.

And if you’re inspired to think about becoming a Montessori teacher—or if you know someone who would be — you’re in luck: there’s an AMI diploma course kicking off in Auckland this summer …

Happy Birthday Maria Montessori!



Last week, many of us around the world remembered and celebrated Maria Montessori’s birthday on August 31st, 1870.

How fortunate are we that her legacy is still thriving today!

Why a 3-summer-format course?

Many students have welcomed the news that MMEF are offering a 3-summer- format course, starting this summer – January 2015.

This chosen format is in response to a need to have AMI training accessible to those working or possibly already studying. The summer format dates coincide with the start of the university year.

Here’s a well crafted video about AMI teacher training too – enjoy!

Recent Montessori Research from Australia

If you’re anything like me, I’m often asked for the research to show how Montessori children fare alongside their non-Montessori peers? Well, here’s a recent research paper courtesy of the Montessori Australia Foundation (MAF) showing just that!

The primary focus of this research was to identify how well the children enrolled in Montessori schools scored on the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) in comparison to the national average. Click on the link below to download the pdf.

Maria Montessori Education Foundation on Facebook, it’s true! Visit our Facebook page, like us and ask all your friends to do the same!

Ka kite ano,


When should you apply for the 2015- 2017 AMI 3-6 Course? Now! Applications open until the end of October 2014.

Visit to download the Course brochure or email for more information.

Looking for Staff? Why not Sponsor someone to study the AMI 3-6 Diploma starting this summer



MMEF trustee, Tia Wooller has had many a lively, pleasurable and thought provoking discussion with the 3rd year students at AUT this year. They will graduate at the end of 2014 and of the 20 students ALL of them want to work in Montessori environments!

Many of them are really keen to study for the AMI 3-6 Diploma and some willing to relocate anywhere in New Zealand!

Tia spoke to the students about the prospect of school sponsorships. The benefits for schools considering this investment are; they’ll have a provisionally registered  B.Ed. graduate, and when the graduates start with your school at the beginning of March 2015 they will already be a third of the way through their AMI 3-6 training!

If this is something of interest to your school please let MMEF know and we will pass your contact details to the students, who in turn can communicate with you directly.

A Fresh Montessori Website For You

Visit the online resource tool for Montessori teachers. The website has been established by Association Montessori Internationale/USA. Here’s a delightful short video entitled ‘peer to peer learning’ which highlights the socially cohesive nature of a mixed-aged Montessori community.  Make yourself a cup of tea and watch as the children communicate and collaborate joyfully and harmoniously.

Note Taking by Hand Aids Memory – its True!

For those of you studying, about to or simply debating whether to take down those notes on your laptop or use the  old fashioned pen and paper method, read on…

Recent research carried out by Indiana University confirms what author and psychologist Stanislas Dehaene has been saying for years – that certain parts of the brain are activated as we write by hand. This brain activity helps us to retain information too!

Another interesting read that I stumbled across and in connection with handwriting can be read by clicking on this link…  lost-as-handwriting-fades.html

Ka kite ano,


Applications now open for the 2015- 2017 AMI 3-6 Course. Visit to download the Course brochure or email for more information.




We are delighted to announce that the course brochure, application form, course schedule & fees for the course starting Summer 2014 are now available at

clip_image002Don’t delay, download the MMEF Information Pack today and apply for the 3-6 course, starting this summer!

We are currently tweaking our website, in the meantime click on the Enrolments tab and you’ll see the downloads.

We are thrilled with the venue for the course and we know that places will go VERY fast. Don’t miss out!


Complete your application today as interviews are being arranged now.

Ka kite ano,


Visit and click on the MMEF blog for latest course news.





Kawai Purapura Retreat Centre, Albany, Auckland

We are delighted to announce the venue for the AMI 3-6 Diploma course starting this summer!


Kawai Purapura is nestled amongst acres of sprawling and terraced landscape and just 20 minutes north of Auckland CBD.

The ambience and carefully crafted spaces provide the perfect setting for our next AMI Diploma Course, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

The retreat centre has become one of New Zealand’s most popular destinations for retreats, conferences and seminars in natural health, environmental awareness and spiritual development.

Kawai Purapura is also connected to the adjacent Council Reserve land with streams and walks and mature native trees, including the magnificent Kahikatea. The perfect place for winding down.

clip_image008Accommodation on Site!

Kawai Purapura Retreat Centre offers twin share accommodation. MMEF students will be eligible for the discounted rate of $22/p.p per night in a twin share room. Go to accommodation-2 for more information.

Other benefits include; nature walks, swimming pool and spa, light and spacious areas for contemplation and reading, self-catering facilities – plus discounted yoga classes!

You can even take a walk at dusk and enjoy an extraordinary display by the glow worms. 

This will be a delightful place to learn, and grow.

The 2015 – 2017 course brochure and application form will be on-line shortly

Keep an eye on for updates and news as it happens!

Announcing Course Dates for AMI 3-6 Diploma 2015–2017



We are delighted to announce the course dates for the AMI 3-6 Diploma course starting this summer!

Summer Format

The course will consist of 3 summers (24 weeks) during January & February 2015 – 2017, plus 10 weeks of observation and teaching practice to be completed in environments designated by the Director of Training and in accordance with AMI.

Course Dates


Monday 5th January to Friday 9th Januaryclip_image002[6]

Monday 12th January to Friday 16th January

Monday 19th January to Friday 23rd January

Tuesday 27th January to Saturday 31st January (26th Jan. Auckland Anniversary)

Monday 2nd February to Thursday 5th February (6th Feb. Waitangi Day)

Monday 9th February to Saturday 14th February

Monday 16th February to Saturday 21st February

Monday 23rd February to Thursday 26th February

2016 clip_image002[4]

January 4th 2016 – 26th February 2016


January 3rd – 24th February 2017

(MMEF reserves the right to make minor date changes)


Exciting developments are underway regarding the venue with accommodation on site.

Further details re: venue, faculty and course fees to be announced shortly. Watch this space!

Keep an eye on for updates and news as it happens!

Ka kite ano,


Maria Montessori Education Foundation News– May/June 2014


 Assistant Certificate Course – Auckland


31 enthusiastic and enquiring students recently gathered for a 9-day Assistant Certificate Course at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Philippa Romig, Auxiliary AMI Trainer travelled from Switzerland and Carol Potts, MMEF, delivered the lecturers and guided many a thought provoking discussion.

MMEF’s thanks and appreciation goes to Philippa Romig for succinctly and interestingly conveying Montessori theory and practice and to AUT for their support with the provision of an expansive and ideally facilitated space for the course.

Dr Steven Hughes Returns to New Zealand!

Many of you will have received this exciting news by post – it’s true! MMEF and AUT will be hosting a public address given by Steven Hughes – ‘Igniting the Flame – Montessori Education and the Development of the Self’ on Thursday September 11th at AUT at 7.00-9.00p.m.

The event will appeal to anyone with an interest and belief in the enormous potential of children.

Tickets – only $10!! – can be purchased from

Another event is currently being arranged in Warkworth/Matakana for Wednesday 10th September. For more details email

The ‘Pearls’ at the Asian 3-6 Seminar Series

     All the pearls!

In May,  21 trainers in training – affectionately named the ‘Pearls’ – from 7 countries re-gathered for the 2nd seminar of the AMI Asian 3-6

Seminar Series in the land where the daily greeting for many is Namaste.

The definition of this greeting seems to succinctly convey the spirituality

of the people and the warmth of the land said, New Zealand’s trainer in

training, Carol Potts.

I honour the place in you where Spirit lives, I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One.

“The atmosphere and significance of being in India, a place where Montessori finally formulated her ideas on the Human Tendencies, is both palpable and poignant.

Hyderabad is a sensorial delight of smells, tastes, sounds, sights and textures. We all thrived on the intensity of the study (the food!) and the philosophical discussions!” said Carol.

The photo depicts participants of the 2nd AMI Training of Trainers

Asian Seminar hosted in Hyderabad, together with seminar leader Janet McDonell and AMI trainer Ruby Lau.

The 1st seminar was led by Dr Annette Haines.

4th Assembly of Educateurs sans Frontières – Thailand

In respect of the current political situation in Thailand, we deeply regret to inform you that the 4th Assembly of Educateurs sans Frontières stands cancelled this year. It has been postponed to 2015.
This was a difficult decision, and one that was made only after careful consideration, consultation with local sources in Thailand, and monitoring of travel advisories posted on governmental websites. Based on the travel warnings issued by the various governments, the continuing political uncertainty, and the restrictions on internal movements in the country, it was determined that travel to Thailand is not advisable during this period.
The Assembly is now rescheduled for July/August 2015, to be held at the in Thailand at the same venue: Hotel Inpawa in Khon Kaen. More details will be sent to you when they become available.

Please email with your comments, thoughts and suggestions.

Ka Kite,





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