Medical Community

Montessorian and medical professional working together to include more children!

Welcome to the MMPI Montessori Medical Community's Portal!


I am so glad you are here, and I hope you will join with us on our quest to expand inclusion in Montessori schools around the world!  My name is Barbara Luborsky.  I am a pediatric OT.  For several years I have been working with and advocating for children together with my colleague, Montessorian Catherine Nehring Massie, observing and implementing inclusive Montessori programs. 

On this website you will find resources to help you expand your knowledge of the Montessori Method in order to optimally meet the developmental needs of the children you treat. If you already know about Montessori education, I hope you will use this site to share your experiences and expertise with our online community. If you have not yet become familiar with it, this site is an excellent place to start. Below, I briefly describe how I came to be interested in this amazing approach to supporting children and why I have devoted myself to finding ways to connect my medical colleagues with Montessori educators.

My first encounter with the Montessori world was in 1996, when I walked into a Montessori school with my 3-year-old daughter.  It was immediately apparent that I had found something special.  The more I learned, the more convinced I was that this approach is the ideal educational method. As a pediatric OT, I appreciate the multi-sensory nature of all things Montessori, the respect for the each child and how that facilitates a sense of autonomy in the individual and promotes the individual’s sense of agency in the community.  But the most striking aspect of the Montessori approach to education by far is the way it serves development.  The materials themselves, along with the lessons, and the combination of direct instruction from the teacher followed by free exploration by the children, combine to provide a scaffold that supports the child’s development across domains.  This maximizes independence by providing a multitude of opportunities for problem solving and allows the child ample time to engage in that process.

In a Montessori environment, a child is continually challenged to develop executive skills.  Aside from any other learning, this is paramount. In addition, throughout their day in a Montessori classroom, children are developing their sensory systems and refining motor, language, cognitive, and social skills--all within a context that allows for individualized developmental pathways.

It is this affordance, this respect for individual developmental trajectories, along with the support of developmental sequences that make the Montessori Method the ideal framework for collaboration between Montessori teachers and developmental therapists and doctors.  Together we can create individualized therapeutic educational programming which allows children with special needs to access this marvelous educational approach while they address therapy goals throughout the day in the Montessori classroom.

Dr. Maria Montessori wrote in 1915 (San Francisco Call and Post): “Between physicians and teachers, at that time, there was an absolute separation; they never met in their social and scientific work.” [Montessori, Maria, The California Lectures of Maria Montessori: Collected Speeches and Writings, 1915, The Clio Montessori Series, p.260.]  Her astute observation made in the late 1800’s unfortunately continues to be largely accurate as we approach the year 2020.  We continue to separate medical and educational methods used with children who have special needs, instead of a combined approach which is more holistic. 

We will be featuring (over time) in our Showcase a wide variety of examples of outstanding inclusive Montessori schools; Montessori schools that serve children with a particular disability exceptionally well, Montessori-based Special Education Programs, Montessori-based therapeutic programs, Montessori-based therapies, and Montessori-based pediatric programs at hospitals and orphanages.  What all of these programs have in common and what makes all of them so effective, is an integrated medical-educational approach that is wholistic, therapeutic, and habilitative for the child and their family. 

This website will help you become aware of the long history of these medically-enhanced Montessori Programs and feel connected to a community of professionals dedicated to:

  • medically-enhanced Montessori approach
  • collaboration and teaming
  • scientific research designed to add to the body of literature showing the efficacy of this method
  • innovative collaborative partnerships between Montessori schools, Universities, Hospitals, and researchers

It is my mission to help bridge the gap between education and medicine by increasing understanding on both sides of the divide.  This requires that Montessorians and medical community members commit to learning more about each other’s practices. It requires mutual respect so that true collaboration can occur.  It requires open minds and open lines of communication, without judgements.  Combining these two aspects which today are largely separate, can generate the greatest benefit to children’s habilitation.  This results in programming that surpasses use of either approach pursued separately.

Montessori teachers and medical professionals can partner in supporting the success of children who face a variety of challenges in achieving Dr. Montessori’s immense vision for a regeneration of mankind:

“This is the field, therefore, in which the culture of the human race can really and practically be undertaken; and a joint labour of physician and teacher will sow the seed of a future hygiene, adapted to achieve perfection in man, both as a species and as a social unit.”  [Montessori, Maria, Pedagogical Anthropology, 1913, p. 37]

We are working to give the gift of Dr. Montessori’s work to more children with physical, emotional, social, and intellectual differences.  Montessori education is the path to both nurturing strengths and addressing weaknesses for all children’s diverse abilities.

This is the work of the Montessori Medical Partnership for Inclusion—join us NOW!

Barbara Helping Child

My first encounter with the Montessori world was in 1996, when I walked into a Montessori school with my 3-year-old daughter.  It was immediately apparent that I had found something special.  The more I learned, the more convinced I was that this approach is the ideal educational method. As a pediatric OT, I appreciate the multi-sensory nature of all things Montessori, the respect for the each child and how that facilitates a sense of autonomy in the individual and promotes the individual’s sense of agency in the community.  But the most striking aspect of the Montessori approach to education by far is the way it serves development.  The materials themselves, along with the lessons, and the combination of direct instruction from the teacher followed by free exploration by the children, combine to provide a scaffold that supports the child’s development across domains.  This maximizes independence by providing a multitude of opportunities for problem solving and allows the child ample time to engage in that process.

In a Montessori environment, a child is continually challenged to develop executive skills.  Aside from any other learning, this is paramount. In addition, throughout their day in a Montessori classroom, children are developing their sensory systems and refining motor, language, cognitive, and social skills--all within a context that allows for individualized developmental pathways.

It is this affordance, this respect for individual developmental trajectories, along with the support of developmental sequences that make the Montessori Method the ideal framework for collaboration between Montessori teachers and developmental therapists and doctors.  Together we can create individualized therapeutic educational programming which allows children with special needs to access this marvelous educational approach while they address therapy goals throughout the day in the Montessori classroom.

Montessori inclusion-capacity building begins NOW.

Did you know that preschool inclusion in the United States has increased only 7.2% in the past 30+ years?  And that in some school districts, public schools are becoming less inclusive?  We believe that a medical-educational partnership can increase educational inclusion and improve developmental outcomes.  I invite you to get involved in our effort to increase the presence and vital contributions of the medical community in our schools.

We are opening with a selection of resources which, we believe, will be of use to you in your work with children who have developmental and learning differences.  Our vision for this inclusion website, is that Montessori educators and medical providers across the globe will contribute many insights, successful practices, and a wealth of resources to support your important work.  We are a growing resource center at this time.

Begin exploring our site NOW and here is what you will find:

  • Grand Opening Showcase Feature: Visit our Inclusion Program Showcase to find perhaps the earliest scientific study of Montessori education for children with disabilities.
  • Resources of interest and relevance to your work: Find current articles and research in Hot Topics, introduce yourself to the Montessori and medical communities through our Inclusion Forums, and read a variety of articles about Montessori-based Special Education practices.  More resources will be added on an ongoing basis.
  • Find out how you can get involved NOW in advocacy, capacity-building, and supporting Montessori programs that are including more diverse populations of children.

Join NOW and enjoy free membership until January 2019.

This Montessori inclusion community resource center will be available to promote and enhance inclusion worldwide. In order to support this important community service, we will need to charge a small membership fee to cover the cost of building and maintaining this website. Join NOW and you can participate for FREE until January 2019, when individual memberships will cost $20.00/year. Of course, if you are really passionate about building the practice of Montessori inclusion to benefit children with special needs around the world, you are WELCOME to contribute more to support MMPI—money, resources, photos and videos, and more. Thank you! Click here to JOIN. Click here to DONATE.

Enjoy your visit, and be sure to come back monthly to the Montessori Medical Professionals’ Portal to see what else we have posted for you!

Tell us what you need

What kind of challenges are your patients and their families finding as they look for appropriate educational settings?

What do you need to know about Montessori education with regards to the kinds of challenges facing the children you work with? 

What do you need to know about effectively and collaboratively working with your patients/clients in a Montessori setting?

What format would work best for you to learn more about Montessori Education?  Webinar?  Conference?

What kinds of resources would you find helpful? 

Ways to communicate with MMPI:

  1. Introduce yourself on our Montessori Medical Professionals’ Forum and tell us what you need.
  2. Email us: catherine@montessori4inclusion.org or barbara@montessori4inclusion.org
  3. Participate in MMPI Surveys that will periodically be posted on our website. If you Join or Follow Us, then you will get a notification of our Surveys.
  4. Call Catherine Massie at 240-385-6338.
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Montessori 4 Inclusion (MMPI)

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