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‘Montessori’ state schools in France

Montessori teaching methods - said to nurture a child’s individuality and creativity - are increasingly being used in state schools.

They are mostly limited to maternelle, but more teachers are experimenting with the methods, including providing physical learning materials and freedom to choose activities.

So far there is no entirely Montessori state school – unlike some 200 expensive private hors contrat schools and a few sous contrat (subsidised) ones.

However, some teachers are opting to follow courses in the methods and investing in special teaching materials.

Association Public Montessori (, which fosters this, now has more than 1,000 members and has established support groups around the country where people can exchange ideas. It offers to loan materials, which can cost €10,000 per class.

In France there is only the Institut Supérieur Maria Mon­tessori in Val-de-Marne that offers a training approved by the Association Montessori International, the body founded by Maria Montessori, an Italian educational theorist who died in 1952.

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