Spokane Montessori School loses recognition status by the Association Montessori Internationale

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Public Montessori School is Montessori no more, parents of the students at the school tell us. An official Montessori school is given recognition, affiliation, or association status by the Association Montessori Internationale every three years, after paying a visit to the school.

The last time they visited Spokane Public Montessori, they weren’t meeting all the criteria needed and lost their recognition status.

The Spokane Public Montessori program dates back to 1985. Through the Association Montessori International, schools can be recognized, affiliated, or associated. SPM had been recognized as an authentic Montessori school for years, but it’s no longer on the Montessori map.

The missing criteria from that denied status a few years ago included a 3-hour work cycle in the morning and a 2-hour work cycle in the afternoon. Plus, all their staff was not AMI trained.

The AMI should have had a consultant visit in 2020, but it was deferred due to COVID. When they reapplied last year, they were denied off the bat.

“They’ll tell you themselves that they don’t have enough time in the day with their students,” explained Makaya Judge, the President of the Community of Montessori Parents.

The Spokane Public School district told us they aren’t able to meet that 3-hour morning requirement due to the amount of prep that would be required by the teaching staff, in relation to collective bargaining agreements in place from the teacher’s union.

“Montessori philosophy says children belong in their environment. If an adult needs to get something done, they should be leaving the environment to that prep so the children have access to their materials. Some Montessori lessons take three hours to set up and build,” Judge added.

According to the District, they surveyed other Montessori schools to see how they meet the AMI requirements of that 3-hour period and found, that it’s better suited for private schools. They say, teachers still have the AMI training, undergo an AMI consultation every 3-years, participate in AMI professional developments and use AMI materials in the classrooms.

“We need to push in specialists that give children options and keep them in their Montessori environment, with uninterrupted times they can be focused on work and develop that intrinsic motivation,” Judge told us.

The District tells us the recognition status doesn’t change the practices or philosophies employed over the past 3 decades.

Parents say, without the 3-hour uninterrupted work cycle in the morning, it’s not authentic Montessori and it’s not enough.

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