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The Montessori Institute

Founded in 1983, the Montessori Institute is the only accredited Higher Education Provider of Montessori courses in Australia. We have dedicated our work to the sustainability of Montessori education in Australia through accessible courses and workshops, which offer excellence in educational outcomes. Graduates of our accredited courses can work and teach in Australian schools and centres, with no further qualification requirements.

The founders of the Institute, Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child, undertook a full-time course with Dr Maria Montessori, in Rome in 1930. During this time they assisted by translating lectures for the English speaking students. There began a lifelong friendship and working relationship with each other and with Dr Montessori.

Dr Montessori conducted training courses in London every alternate year between 1919 and 1939, until interned in India during the period of the Second World War. When there was a desperate need for Montessori-trained teachers in 1946, Dr Montessori gave permission for a permanent training college to be established in London. Permission was contingent on the courses being run by Margaret Homfray and Phoebe Child, and written authorisation given for them to issue a Montessori Diploma to successful students.

During the 1960s, Miss Homfray and Miss Child travelled to many countries, conducting workshops and practical training for those who had joined the correspondence course. They had initiated this method of study in response to letters they received from teachers and parents far and wide, asking for help to educate children. These courses made Montessori’s teachings available to many thousands of interested people, who may otherwise not have been able to learn about it and use it with children. It was the means by which Dr Montessori’s ideas were spread to most parts of the world.

However, this was not the end of their contributions. They revised courses and curriculum guides, made videos, visited Australia and New Zealand to give workshops and seminars and spent a few years in California, giving lectures on a full-time and part-time basis. It was in California that they set up the Montessori World Educational Institute (California) and following one of several regular visits by Miss Homfray to Australasia, the Montessori World Educational Institute (Australia) was incorporated in 1983. During those early years, Miss Homfray trained many of our lecturers, who in turn have imparted her knowledge to our current lecturers.

We are proud to continue to the work of our founders and it is a testament to their dedication and passion, and those who followed them, that the Montessori Institute continues to ensure the sustainability of Montessori education in Australia.

30th Anniversary e-Book

Read about the history of the Institute, the stories of our life members and other key people involved in the organisation over the years in this special commemorative book, which, in 2013, celebrated the 30th Anniversary since its inception in Australia in 1983.

You can download the free MWEI-30th-Anniversary-Book PDF here

Mission and goals


The Montessori Institute aims to develop and present nationally accredited quality Montessori courses which enable students and the wider community to pursue Montessori educational studies in a convenient and flexible manner.


1. Meeting the needs of Montessori schools and the wider education environment for Montessori educators through flexibility, inclusivity, quality education and partnership
2. Commitment to recognising and applying Australian and global perspectives to course structures and outcomes
3. Integrity of interactions and relationships with all stakeholders
4. High level of professionalism through accreditation and recognition with TEQSA, AITSL and ACECQA or their successors
5. Innovation and advancement of knowledge and understanding
6. Contributing to a democratic, equitable and civilized society and support for life-long learning.

View our Strategic Plan