Schools faithful to Montessori method

YOUR article ''The reality of Montessori'' (Sunday Morning Post, May 15) did not do justice to the Montessori movement in Asia. In addition, I was misquoted. I was never asked a question, but invited to participate in an interview on the Montessori Centre. I said it would not be in the best interests of the Montessori School of Hong Kong if I did, since only the negative of what was said in my previous interview was printed.

Your article left the impression that the Montessori School of Hong Kong had no accreditation and the operators were trying to hide this fact. This is far from the truth. The school is fully accredited by The American Montessori Society.

In 1977 our American colleagues started the school in Repulse Bay, which we continued from 1983 until 1992, when the property was sold to parties related to the Woodlands school. From 1987 until December 1993 we also operated the Montessori School of Hong Kong (Caine Road branch) until the landlord decided to sell the property.

Since the mid-1980s we have sponsored lectures and workshops for parents on the Montessori philosophy of education and living. We ran weekly seminars showing videotapes of American Montessori schools in action.

We have also explained the differences between Montessori and traditional schools to education and social welfare officials.

Last summer we invited three internationally trained and certified Montessori teacher-trainers to give training to our new staff in Hong Kong and to train staff at the Beijing Montessori School.

The American Montessori model is at the forefront of international Montessori education and there is increasing international demand for educational reform.

In January a ceremony was held in Nanhai, China, marking the official endorsement of Montessori education on the mainland and the establishment of a 20-classroom school. This school is being started in full co-operation with the American Montessori Society. American teachers will serve as master teachers for the first two years, while others complete a training programme in Hong Kong.

There are definite plans for at least two American Montessori schools to open in Shanghai where our affiliate, the Montessori Association Early Childhood Education Programme, will be the training centre of choice.

GEORGE E. CARUSO, PhD Supervisor The Montessori School of Hong Kong (Caine Road branch)