What is Montessori?

Montessori education is a philosophy of how children learn based on the research and teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. Her childcenteric educational approach is based the on the scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Her educational method is in use today in thousands of Montessori schools and dozens of teacher education programs in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world.

Dr. Montessori believed her mission was to free children from the misguided educational notions of her day. She trained other adults to observe children and use the materials she developed.

Who We Are

Montessori Institute of America (MIA) is an international organization dedicated to advancing Montessori Education in accordance with MIA’s Vision and Mission Statement. MIA sets standards and procedures to be followed by MIA certified Teacher Education Programs throughout the world. MIA awards Teacher certification to adults who have completed the approved training and practicum. MIA is a founding affiliate of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), an international accrediting agency for Montessori teacher education institutions and programs.

MIA was founded in the 1960’s as Mid-America Montessori Teacher Preparation Center by Dr. Helen K. Billings. Through her dynamic energy and speaking ability, this organization became the largest Montessori training program in Missouri and Kansas. In 1972 this organization became Montessori Institute of America. From 1972 to 2014, MIA began expanding to include schools from around the world.¬†In 2014, MIA reorganized to reflect its place as an international organization. With the demand for qualified Montessori teachers growing, the MIA endeavors to meet those demands by training teachers and assisting them to find teaching positions in schools worldwide. Although MIA’s headquarters is in the United States, our training programs reach out and support¬†the international Montessori community.

MIA is overseen by a Board of Trustees. Continuing attention to ongoing affairs and concerns is carried out by the Board members and the Chairs of committees including the Education Committee, Review & Accreditation Committee, Membership Committee, and the Conference & Hospitality Committee.

Our Founder: Dr. Helen K. Billings

Dr. Helen K. Billings was born in Missouri in 1901. By 1940, she and her husband William Billings were located in Kansas City, Kansas and Helen was a High School teacher. For many years she was involved with both elementary and high schools in the area.

After the death of her husband in 1959, she traveled to Europe. Following her participation in a Montessori teacher education program in Italy in 1960, she returned to the United States and worked at Highlawn Montessori School in Kansas City.

In 1969, she founded Mid-America Montessori Teacher Education Center in Kansas City and actively encouraged others to adopt the Montessori philosophy in their work as educators. She became an inspiring leader in the field of Montessori education.

Vision & Mission

Our Mission is to provide a harmonious, global organization to support Montessori philosophy through teacher preparation, schools, and individual members. We advocate the development of the whole child, recognizing Dr. Montessori’s emphasis on the spiritual dimension of the child and adult.