|Authenticity is a controversial topic in the Montessori world. Until her death in 1952, Maria Montessori continued to develop and refine her philosophy and method, and to assert sole authority for defining her work and training teachers. In 1929, Montessori founded the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to protect and further her work, and AMI continues to see itself as the legitimate source of Montessori authenticity and teacher training.However, during Montessori’s lifetime and afterwards, societies and organizations were founded, training programs were developed, and schools were opened, with and without affiliation with AMI. This has created the patchwork of Montessori practice that exists in the world today.
Outside of the United States, Montessori schools are typically accredited only by governments or independent school associations, but not specifically as Montessori schools. In the United States, the situation is more complicated. Montessori flourished in the U.S. in the 1910s, but languished thereafter. In 1959, AMI sent a representative, Nancy McCormick Rambusch, to the U.S., where she founded the American Montessori Society (AMS). In 1963, Rambusch and AMS broke with AMI, and the two organizations grew separately. In 1972, AMI-USA was founded as an AMI affiliate. AMI and AMS offer teacher training programs, as do several smaller organizations. AMI-USA and AMS also offer Montessori school certification. More information on Montessori organizations can be found here.
In general, the name Montessori is not trademarked, copyrighted, or patented, and can be used by any school with any degree, or none, of certification or teacher training. AMI teacher training is generally accepted at any Montessori school, and required for AMI accreditation. However, AMS and other trainings are more widely available and in some cases less costly and time-consuming. More information on teacher training can be found here.