About Us

About Us2019-12-13T10:25:32+02:00

About the South African Montessori Association

Welcome to the South African Montessori Association’s website, created especially for the members of the association, as well as others interested in Montessori pedagogy. We trust you will find the information most useful.

We encourage you to browse our site, where you will find SAMA member schools; quality assurance process for SAMA member schools; training institutions and suppliers of Montessori equipment and other useful resources.  Should you require any further information or support, contact the SAMA administrator  admin@samontessori.org.za

As a volunteer run organisation, SAMA is committed to growth and support of Montessori in Southern Africa.

The primary contact for assistance and enquiries is the SAMA Administrator – admin@samontessori.org.za

What is SAMA

SAMA is a non-profit (NPO-144 455), volunteer run organisation.

It is an independent association of members.

Membership is voluntary.

SAMA’s Vision

Leading transformation through Montessori education.

Why SAMA exists

In April 2003 at SAMA’s inaugural AGM, the association was constituted with the mandate to unite Montessori professionals across Southern Africa by encouraging global best practice in Montessori methodology.

Montessori schools are individual, unique and separate entities.  “MONTESSORI” is not trademarked, therefore we endeavour to promote and protect the interests of our members, be they institutional or individual.

SAMA is the official liaison between its member body and government departments through our membership with NAISA (National Alliance for Independent school of South Africa); including ECD chambers of government as well as the Department Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). This representation is paramount in keeping best practice and integrity in member Montessori schools.

In 2014 SAMA established a three-tier quality assurance system to guide our independently owned Montessori schools to achieve global best practice in Montessori pedagogy.

History of SAMA

An article in TUCS (Transvaal University College) Student Magazine of 1917 – “The Montessori Method as applied in the Transvaal”, shows evidence of one hundred years of Montessori in SA! The first school “St Francis in the forest” run by three sisters, was situated close to the Zoo in Johannesburg. It is our understanding from further anecdotal interviews that there was also a Montessori pre-school started in 1917 in Wynberg, Cape Town.  The school was on Wynberg Hill and called the Garden Montessori School.  There are also records from the 1920’s of a Montessori school in Pietermaritzburg. After a renewal of interest in Montessori education in the 70’s, several schools emerged in JHB, Soweto and CT.

Montessori education has affected many communities and has contributed to the crossing of borders of religion, race and economic status.  With the support of Mrs. Strilli Oppenheimer and her family Montessori in Southern Africa was established.

The Montessori Society was founded in 1981 and had some participation from neighbouring countries and support from forward thinking organisations such as Liberty life who financed the production of its Newsletter.

In 1991 at the ISASA conference in Mmabatho, Montessori had prominence in discussions. The Montessori method has proven itself both adaptable and beneficial to all socioeconomic levels and specialities within the educational systems and continues to grow worldwide. Today there are numerous Montessori schools throughout South Africa as well as the rest of Africa (that we know of: Namibia, Swaziland, Seychelles, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Egypt.)

Currently in South Africa we have 175 independently owned SAMA member schools working towards SAMA Full membership, 335 non-member Schools and a number of educational programmes implementing or supplementing with Montessori in their classrooms.