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Montessori preschools in Poland

Private Montessori preschools in Poland

The advantages of Montessori preschools are widely discussed in Poland. More and more of these preschools are emerging and flourishing in Poland. The first institutions employing Dr. Maria Montessori’s method began to appear in Poland in the interwar period, i.e., when this school of thought was gaining popularity in the world.  continue reading...

List of schools

School  ( = Featured ) Grades Type Languages / Type
2 English Montessori School Katowice

ul. J Gallusa 10, Katowice, 40-594
PS/Kindergarten (2,5 years) to Gr. 8 Montessori English, Polish
2 Przedszkole Baby City

ul. Zielona 42, Warszawa, 02-913
Nursery (2,5 years) to Gr. 0 Montessori
Polish Curriculum (Ministry of National Eduction, MEN)
Reggio Emilia
English, Spanish
Polish Curriculum (Ministry of National Eduction, MEN)
Reggio Emilia
1 Warsaw Montessori Family

ul. Szwoleżerów 4, Warszawa, 00-464
Nursery (18 months) to Gr. 12 Diploma programme
International Baccalaureate
Polish Curriculum (Ministry of National Eduction, MEN)
English, Polish
Diploma programme
International Baccalaureate
Polish Curriculum (Ministry of National Eduction, MEN)
0 Montessori Wesoła
Aleja Piłsudskiego 4d, Warszawa, 05-077
0 Niepubliczna Szkoła Podstawowa i Gimnazjum 'Otwarte Drzwi'
Aleja Niepodległości 36, Poznań, 61-714
0 Montessori Elipsoida
W. Żeleńskiego 3, Warszawa, 02-403
0 J. Addison School
2 Valleywood Drive, Markham, L3R 8H3
0 Miejskie Przedszkole nr 14 z oddziałami integracyjnymi im. Marii Montessori
ul. Nawojowska 9, Nowy Sącz, 33-300
0 Montessori Neo School
Średniawskiego 27, Myślenice, 32-400
0 Polski Ośrodek Edukacji Montessori
Henryka Pobożnego 1, Warszawa, 02-496
0 Villa Montessori
Rycerska 8, Poznań, 60-346
0 Montessori International School
Potockiej 38, Poznań, 60-211
0 Szkoła Promitis
Wileńska 18 lok. U7, Warszawa, 03-416
0 Ala ma kota
ul. Żołny 63a, Warszawa, WARSZAWA, POLSKA

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During WWII, and then in communist Poland, whose authorities completely rejected this method of education, this development was interrupted. It was only after the political transformation in 1989 that Montessori education returned, and Montessori preschools and other educational institutions began to appear in the country. Currently, Montessori nurseries and preschools operate in many cities, including in Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław, Łódź, Gdańsk, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Lublin, and Rzeszów. These are mostly private institutions.

What is Montessori pedagogy?

The Montessori pedagogy is a method of education based on the assumption that the child has a natural desire to learn and learns most effectively when given plenty of freedom. The main goal of the Montessori method is to enable children to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.

The creator of the Montessori Method, Dr. Maria Montessori, believed that children form themselves, but in close interaction with the surrounding environment. They eagerly watch other kids, learn from them, and achieve quite amazing results.

Montessori classes are multi-age groupings, consisting of children of different ages, as in the family, and they aim to create appropriate conditions for kids to develop naturally, gaining skills and knowledge at a pace appropriate for them, without stress. The role of the teacher is to follow the child, guide her, and help her.

Maria Montessori focused on the child, on what is good for her, and on what’s in line with her natural development. Thanks to many years of observations, she managed to isolate the so-called sensitive phases, during which the child is particularly receptive to learning.

Those periods occur, in particular, during the period from birth to seven years of age, when the basis for the child’s development is being formed. For this reason, it is in preschool and in the younger grades of primary school that the Montessori method brings the best educational results.

Montessori preschools in Poland

Most Montessori preschools are in Warsaw, followed by Poznań, and then Kraków. In terms of voivodeships (the Polish equivalent of provinces), Mazowsze, Pomerania and Lesser Poland (the area around Krakow) have most such locations.

The majority of the more than 100 Montessori preschools are concentrated in large cities and around them, i.e., in local communities in these cities.

Montessori preschools are almost exclusively private institutions.

Dr. Małgorzata Miksza, the president of the Polish Montessori Association (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Montessori - PSM), says straightforwardly:

“It is only a matter of honesty of people who run such facilities and decide to use the name ‘Montessori.’ In Poland, the name is not legally protected, so anyone can name their preschool 'Montessori’ as long as it somehow relates to Maria Montessori's philosophy.”

The school superintendent, who exercises supervision over educational institutions, does not control Montessori schools, being only interested in whether they adequately implement the curriculum and prescribed educational goals. The supervision of the local government is limited to organizational and financial matters.

The quality of Montessori facilities in Poland is monitored only if they are members of the PSM. Then such establishments are recommended by the association. Surprisingly, the oldest of them are public institutions in Lublin and Świdnik, established in the early 1990s, when the Polish Montessori Association was established.

“The association has been operating since 1994. It was then that we assumed that we would promote and develop Montessori pedagogy, so we are more like a movement, not just an organization limiting itself to organizing training. There are also other institutions that develop this pedagogy in Poland, including universities, such as The Marie Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin (UMCS ),” says Dr. Miksza.

PSM is the oldest such organization in Poland, but not the only one. There are other organizations in the country whose aim is to promote Maria Montessori's pedagogy, to ensure the implementation of her principles in educational institutions and to support their development, for instance, by organizing seminars and training courses for teachers, such as the Montessori Without Borders Association, associated with the University of Warsaw. Some educational facilities fully implement the ideas of Montessori philosophy without external institutional support and they do it very well. It’s important to know that Montessori education facilities are under no obligation to belong to any formal organization.

The question arises, then, how do you distinguish between a real Montessori preschool and one that has adopted the name “Montessori” or states in its information materials that it applies the principles of Montessori pedagogy, but ... doesn’t fully?

How to recognize a Montessori facility?

The answer to this question is relatively easy—a list of the most important criteria for such institutions was developed by the European Montessori Association. There are several features that allow you to conclude that you are dealing with a Montessori facility:

• Teachers, in addition to having standard pedagogical qualifications, must have been trained to work in accordance with Montessori pedagogy, i.e., have a Montessori course diploma, or must have completed postgraduate Montessori studies. Such studies which prepare for work in preschool and Grades 1 to 3 are 270 hours, during which the teacher acquires philosophical, anthropological, and methodological knowledge.

• A preschool or school with a Montessori sign must also have a properly "prepared environment"—classrooms must have appropriate furniture and learning aids and be adapted to children of various ages. Montessori preschools are completely different in this respect from most other preschools. There are no traditional classrooms and desks, but rooms with designated workplaces.

• Montessori preschools do not use traditional toys, for example, teddy bears or dolls. Classes are equipped only with Montessorian materials and teaching aids that allow the child to develop knowledge, skills, and senses, and thus better understand the world around them.

A daily schedule in the Montessori preschool

“Each day in a Montessori preschool or school must contain a so-called free independent work period, i.e. 2-3 hours filled with children's own activities. Of course, these would be negotiated between teachers and children, but the kids are free to choose the place, time and type of activity. Groups must be multi-age. If it happens that the facility calls itself Montessori and the children in the class are all of the same age, this is a serious violation of the Montessori principles,” says Dr. Miksza.

According to Dr. Miksza, the "environment," i.e., the class, must be arranged for kids of at least three different ages for psychological reasons: children are at different educational stages, they learn from each other, just like in a family. The younger, though, don’t always learn from the older ones. The teacher must keep appropriate additional documentation, namely, observation cards, which contain full information about the child's progress.

Dr. Miksza explains that it was numerous questions from parents about characteristic features of Montessori facilities that made PSM prepare a list of these features to be found on its website.

Criteria to be met by a Polish Montessori facility

According to PSM, in order to be called a Montessori facility, it needs to meet the following criteria:

• Teachers must have, in addition to standard teaching qualifications, qualifications to teach according to the Montessori method, which means that they must have diplomas of courses/postgraduate studies in Maria Montessori’s pedagogy;

• The facility must be arranged according to the criteria of "prepared environment"; in the preschool group there are basic (key) Montessorian learning aids in all areas of knowledge: for practical life, sensory education, mathematical, linguistic, ecological, and cultural development, as well as musical and aesthetic education;

• The arrangement of children's workplaces corresponds to their individual needs and development phases;

• The schedule for the day and week includes, in addition to the implementation of the core curriculum, children’s individual work with Montessori development aids;

• Children learn in groups of different ages, which favours their social and emotional development, and at the same time strengthens, according to the assumptions of Maria Montessori's pedagogy, their individual development;

• The teacher, in accordance with the pedagogy of Maria Montessori, supports the individual development of children, observes them, and properly documents their progress, as well as works closely with parents.

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We encourage you to read our Kids' other articles about Montessori facilities and pedagogy:

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Montessori nursery schools in Poland

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