Steve Hughes’ conference – “Education for life: neurosciences perspectives on Montessori education” – held in Vésenaz on May 9, 2019, in partnership with the Maria Montessori Training Institute (IFMM)


Dr. Steve Hughes, a renowned American pediatric neuropsychologist and a prominent member of the Research Council of the International Montessori Association, is no longer being introduced.

The purpose of his intervention in Vésenaz was the confrontation between Montessori pedagogy and neuroscience, through the key concept of Montessori as “education for life”. A complex program that Dr. Steve Hughes has made intelligible to everyone.

Beginning by recalling the specificity of living systems, which is to resist the second law of thermodynamics by extracting energy from their environment to survive, he presented the child as a living being lacking the skills necessary for survival. Hence the importance of freedom of movement for children, through which they will gradually acquire the opportunity to interact with their environment. The brain is thus an extraordinary tool for adapting to the environment.

The role of a Montessori environment is first and foremost to promote the child’s purposeful movement, which helps to build his or her brain. In this sense, Montessori pedagogy is directly an “aid to life”.

Karen Pearce’s lecture: “Seeing is believing” – the art of observation – in Geneva, on June 1, 2019


The art of observing and really following what the child reveals. We will reflect on what it means to really trust the child to show us the way.

The session will continue with a reflection on the four steps that Montessori observes in children on the road to normalization. We will study the characteristics and indicators at each developmental stage to determine how best to support the child at each stage. The conference will be based on pure Montessori pedagogy but will also keep a very practical tone.

We will also see how to draw and analyze the different work curves. We will examine how educators can collect the necessary information for their observation:

  • What data?
  • How to rate them?
  • How to draw and analyze work curves?

We will continue this session by using a case study to develop the art of analyzing and proposing a customized development program focused on Pedagogy rather than age or curriculum.

A former school principal at the Maria Montessori Institute, Karen managed their children’s home from 1990 to 2008 under the mentorship of Hilla Patell. Pedagogical director of Montessori Place, she continues to advise Montessori educators, is a lecturer at the AMI courses and leads the MMI post-graduate course on the science of child observation.

Solange Denervaud’s lecture: “Concentration in the service of interior construction” on Saturday 19 January 2019 at 2.30 pm


As usual, the Association Montessori de France proposed a conference following its General Assembly, presented by Solange Denervaud, doctoral student in affective neurosciences at the University of Geneva (Switzerland).

The theme of this intervention concerned one of the fundamental processes of Montessori pedagogy, that of the child’s concentration.

This conference highlighted the physical process of concentration of the child within his brain, and how this process of concentration allows the child to consolidate his learning and thus his inner construction. Once again, Maria Montessori’s empirical studies conducted more than a century ago are now proven by the latest scientific research.

Solange Denervaud and her team are expected to complete their work in the summer of 2019, which will provide an opportunity in the following months to publish numerous articles and present the final results. A subject that we’re certainly not done talking about.

2019 General Assembly of the Montessori Association of France


On Saturday morning, January 19, the General Assembly of the Montessori Association of France (AMF) was held at rue Claude Bernard in Paris.

An opportunity for all members to meet and take stock of the past year.

Among the many elements presented, the strong vitality of the Montessori network in France is worth mentioning: in 2019, the AMF had more than 700 members, with strong growth, reflecting the progress of Montessori education in French society.

According to a survey conducted by the Foundation for the School, 203 schools claim to be Montessori educational institutions to date: the AMF is in contact with 171 of them, and 113 are members of the association.

The first challenge for the association is therefore to federate the community of educators, who often find themselves a little alone after their Montessori training.

Among the actions implemented by the association, the School Directors’ Day brought together 43 people, the equipment loan programme in partnership with the Montessori Foundation of France benefited 3 schools in 2018 for a total amount of 18K€, and the association’s Facebook page now has 6700 subscribers, 1200 of whom receive the monthly newsletter.

Christian Maréchal’s conference on Montessori pedagogy and neuroscience (Geneva, 15/12/2018)


The AMS (Association Montessori Suisse – which brings together the actors of the Montessori community for the cantons of French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland) proposed a conference on Saturday 15 December 2018, at the Maison des Associations, rue des Savoises 15, in Geneva.

This conference, led by Christian Maréchal, had as its theme: “The links between Montessori pedagogy and neuroscience: what if Maria Montessori had been right?”

It allowed us to present the functioning of the brain as neurosciences show us, in particular the role of mirror neurons and the processes of synaptic learning and erasure. It is striking to note that the empirical studies carried out by Maria Montessori more than a century ago are now supported in a fairly systematic way by the progress of research.

Christian Maréchal, an outstanding teacher, has the gift of making these aspects, which are sometimes a little difficult to understand, intelligible. And it made everyone want to know more!