By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation and analyze site usage. View our Privacy Policy for more information. You can change your preferences at any time.
No items found.

Our Story

EsF builds on the work of Maria Montessori to obtain recognition for the rights of the child and to explore the potential of Montessori for social impact.



First Casa dei Bambini

The first Casa dei Bambini opened at 53 Via dei Marsi in the San Lorenzo district of Rome on 6th January 1907.

"This new kind of school was christened by Signora Olga Lodi, a mutual friend of Signor Talamo and myself, under the fortunate title of Casa dei Bambini or 'The Children's House.' Under this name the first of our schools was opened on the sixth of January, 1907, at 58 Via dei Marsi. It was confided to the care of Candida Nuccitelli and was under my guidance and direction. From the very first I perceived, in all its immensity, the social and pedagogical importance of such institutions, and while at that time my visions of a triumphant future seemed exaggerated, today many are beginning to understand that what I saw before was indeed the truth." - Maria Montessori


Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child is adopted by the League of Nations on 24th September 1924.


Association Montessori Internationale

Association Montessori Internationale is founded in Elsinore, Denmark, during the first International Montessori Congress.


Second International Montessori Congress

The second International Montessori Congress takes place in Nice, France. Montessori delivers her lecture Peace and Education, published by the International Bureau of Education in Geneva.


Sixth International Montessori Congress

The Sixth International Montessori Congress takes place in Copenhagen; the theme is "Educate for Peace." Montessori delivers several lectures later collected in her book Education and Peace (first published in Italy as Educazione e Pace, 1949). Montessori founds the Social Party of the Child.


The Forgotten Citizen

In 1947 Maria Montessori wrote a letter with a call to governments. Excerpts from this letter are shared below.

"My life has been spent in the research of truth. Through the study of children I have scrutinised human nature at its origin both in the East and the West and although it is forty years now since I began my work, childhood still seems to me an inexhaustible source of revelations and—let me say—hope. Childhood has shown me that all humanity is one. All children talk, no matter what their race or their circumstances or their family, more or less at the same age; they walk, change their teeth, etc. at certain fixed periods of their life. In other aspects also, especially in the psychical field, they are just as similar, just as susceptible. Children are the constructors of men whom they build, taking from the environment language, religion, customs and the peculiarities not only of the race, not only of the nation, but even of a special district in which they develop."

"The child is the forgotten citizen, and yet, if statesmen and educationists once came to realise the terrific force that is in childhood for good or for evil, I feel they would give it priority above everything else. All problems of humanity depend on man himself; if man is disregarded in his construction, the problems will never be solved."

"Man must be cultivated from the beginning of life when the great powers of nature are at work. It is then that one can hope to plan for a better international understanding."
-Maria Montessori


General Conference of UNESCO

In 1950, Maria Montessori spoke at the UNESCO General Conference in Florence. Montessori became involved in the work of UNESCO through her participation in the founding of the UNESCO Institute for Education. The Institute was renamed the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in 2006.

The article "Doctor Who Opened a New Door to Education", 1950

The Governing Board of UNESCO Institute of Education

“In my opinion there is only one remedy by which future generations can be protected against the woe which burdens us: let us forget the problems and concentrate on the person!”.

Maria Montessori gave this speech as a member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Education at its first meeting on 19 June 1951.

Read the full speech here.


Declaration of the Rights of the Child


Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is adopted by the UN General Assembly and opened for signature. By signing the convention, countries agree upon a minimum standard for the protection of the rights of children.


Educateurs sans Frontières

Educateurs sans Frontières is founded by Renilde Montessori and a team of dedicated Montessori practitioners. The first Assembly is held to define the purpose and mission along with a call to action.


Millennium Development Goals

The Education for All Movement is established in April 2000 at the World Economic Forum in Senegal, Africa.


EsF Assembly, Burgos, Spain

The second Assembly was held in Burgos, Spain in 2004. It was shortened to three weeks and the focus of each week was a study of a single plane of human development: birth to six, six to twelve and twelve to eighteen. In addition to readings, study sessions and reflections, Montessori participants presented their work in their local communities. Outside speakers added a depth to the study and sowed the seeds for future partnerships.


EsF Assembly, Dallas, Texas

The third Assembly was held in Dallas, Texas in 2011. In addition to the programme of study and discussion, Montessori speakers, and outside speakers, participants were also invited to tour Lumin Education, a program in East Dallas that had been established to serve children and families in a Latino immigrant community. The theme for the two-week assembly was Montessori Education for Social Change. A working group was established to begin to formalise the structure of EsF as a division of AMI and a website specific to EsF was created.


Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are set by the United Nations General Assembly and adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


EsF Assembly, Khon Kaen, Thailand

The 4th EsF Assembly was the first to be held in Asia. Participants gathered in Khon Kaen, Thailand for two weeks to focus their discussions on Innovative Solutions to Montessori for Social Change. The study of Montessori theory and readings in the light of Thailand’s development of Montessori schools within the public system and their recently established AMI Training Center confirmed the work of EsF to expand the reach of AMI. The emerging Montessori programs to serve the aging and dementia was introduced at the Assembly.


EsF Assembly Hyderabad India

In 2016 the Assembly moved to Hyderabad, India. The strong history of the Montessori movement in India and the strength of Montessori training and schools in India provided an ideal setting to explore the fundamental values of Montessori and to begin to articulate the preparation needed to become an effective Educateur. Again, the Assembly combined Montessori study and speakers, reports from the participants, outside speakers and tours of surrounding schools. Participants were invited to participate in cultural traditions and each day was enriched with performances and activities from children in Hyderabad.


EsF Assembly, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The 6th Educateurs sans Frontières was held from 4-18 August at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa in collaboration with the Indaba Montessori Institute. The Assembly, themed Strengthening Communities for a Sustainable Future, brought together 95 individuals from all around the world to discuss the potential of Montessori education for social change.


EsF Assembly, Tepoztlán, Mexico

The 7th Educateurs sans Frontières Assembly was held from 21 July - 3 August 2019 in Tepoztlán, Mexico, in collaboration with AMI Affiliate Montessori Mexico. This Assembly, themed The Mind and Hand Together - Community in Action, brought together 65 participants from every continent, with a large representation from Latin America.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on the EsF Network, Latest Blogs and Events.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We Build Connections

EsF organizes events and assemblies to connect those who are working or are interested in Montessori education and child development.

Maria Montessori

The start and early years of Maria Montessori’s work with disenfranchised children in the impoverished San Lorenzo district of Rome were to epitomize her life and discoveries in the field of human development. Her advocacy of the social mission of education went from strength to strength as she lived through wars and turbulent times in world history and came to know many cultures. Her experiences only reinforced her conviction that if we want our societies to progress, respecting all, allowing all to develop according to the laws of human nature, we need to enable the true development of children as the builders of a new society, and empowered changemakers.

“We should, however, not forget the gratitude we owe to the child — to this constructor of the human personality. The child not only builds up the adult he is going to be, but he is constantly continuing the progress of humanity and of the whole of society. It is the soul of the child which is an open gateway to the establishment of a universal brotherhood…” - Maria Montessori Opening speech at the Besant Cultural Centre, Adyar, 1947

Educateurs sans Frontières

When Renilde Montessori, the youngest granddaughter of Maria Montessori, assumed the leadership of Association Montessori Internationale in 1995, she recognized the need for the Montessori community to revitalise that essential link to her grandmother’s social mission.

Important work had always been achieved under difficult circumstances by pioneering Montessori educators, but Montessori’s profound vision of humanity was often under pressure of being regarded solely as an exclusive education “label.” Renilde’s view of bringing Montessori home was to be supported by the work, connections and advocacy of Montessori educators who embraced the ideas and mission of a return to the origins: serving disenfranchised populations, learning deeply from that experience, promoting children’s rights throughout society. These aspirations were to be incorporated into the vision and mission of Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF), established in 1998, and launched in 1999 (AMI Bylaws).

The Fundamental Idea

The fundamental idea underlying Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF) was to see how the vision could be extended and how the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) could create a call to action.

“The idea was liberating and challenging at the same time: the principles needed to be in place for what you were going to do and needed to be recognizable as good quality Montessori. This was a different kind of call to action: It spoke to the hearts of all who embraced Montessori education, because the only thing we really want is the change humans can make, for the future, for a different kind of society that has a different kind of consciousness, working towards a global impact. Montessori’s philosophy is about doing something that is fundamental to all humans.”

Lynne Lawrence • Executive Director of AMI

Watch the message of Lynne Lawrence on Youtube