Global Diffusion of Montessori Schools

A Report From the 2022 Global Montessori Census


  • Mira Debs Yale University
  • Jaap de Brouwer Saxion University of Applied Sciences
  • Angela K. Murray University of Kansas
  • Lynne Lawrence Association Montessori Internationale
  • Megan Tyne Association Montessori Internationale
  • Candice von der Wehl Association Montessori Internationale



Montessori Census, Montessori research, global education, alternative pedagogy


Montessori education is distinct for its implementation in 154 countries around the world. Lacking a Montessori trademark or comprehensive overseeing body, the expansion of the Montessori approach has often been diffuse and fragmented among competing organizations. The absence of centralized, accurate, and consistent accounting has made it difficult to document the scope, growth trends, and diverse populations of students served in Montessori schools. The primary objective of this study was to gather evidence to support a robust estimate of the number of Montessori schools worldwide. This estimate relies on national and regional organizations’ broadest definitions of what constitutes a Montessori program. The study included two components: a survey of regional and national Montessori organizations and supplemental sources, including other published estimates and direct inquiries within key countries. Multiple sources allowed for triangulating data to reach a more confident estimate for the number of schools in each country and for synthesizing global perspectives on significant elements of Montessori fidelity worldwide. Through these sources, we document a total of 15,763 Montessori schools around the globe, roughly 9% of which are government funded. Countries with the largest number of Montessori schools are the United States, China, Thailand, Germany, Canada, and Tanzania; the United States, Thailand, the Netherlands, and India have the largest number of government-funded or public Montessori programs. Results of the fidelity analysis identified six practices that emerge consistently as central pillars of Montessori implementation.

Author Biographies

Mira Debs, Yale University

Mira Debs is the Executive Director of the Education Studies Program and a Lecturer in Sociology at Yale University.

Jaap de Brouwer, Saxion University of Applied Sciences

Jaap de Brouwer works as a researcher at the Progressive Education research group and a Montessori teacher trainer at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

Angela K. Murray, University of Kansas

Angela Murray, PhD, is director for the KU Center for Montessori Research and the founding chair of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Montessori Education Special Interest group (SIG).  Her publications include articles related to Montessori education as well as the transition of young adults with special needs from high school into adulthood. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Montessori Research.


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How to Cite

Debs, M., de Brouwer, J. ., Murray, A. K., Lawrence, L. ., Tyne, M. ., & von der Wehl, C. . (2022). Global Diffusion of Montessori Schools: A Report From the 2022 Global Montessori Census. Journal of Montessori Research, 8(2), 1–15.