I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the railing, about to jump.  I ran over and said: “Stop. Don’t do it.”

“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked.

“Well, there’s so much to live for!”

“Like what?”

“Are you religious?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?”


“Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?”


“Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”


“Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”

“Baptist Church of God.”

“Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”

“Reformed Baptist Church of God.”

“Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”

He said: “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”

I said: “Die, heretic scum,” and pushed him off. 

Joke found here.

A schism is a separation or division into factions*, and is generally used in reference to religious group breaking into separate factions (such as the Protestant Reformation).  The above joke illustrates how divided a group of people can become.

I am fascinated by, but sadly ignorant of, the origins of the divisions in the Montessori movement.  What are the grievances the impelled others to form independent organizations?  Are these differences pedagogical? political? personal? cultural?  

I don’t know the root causes of the disputes (researching these causes is one brand I will keep in the fire), but I am hopeful that common ground might be found, leading to an alliance of Montessori groups that can pool resources to further the movement. How much more could we all achieve together?  Despite the differences, don’t we have more in common with each other than with traditional education?  It seems to me that it is the little differences (like the Reformation of 1879 vs 1915 from the joke above) that lead to the most heated debates? 

I found a fascinating article written in Time Magazine, Friday, July 10, 1964 that discusses the early schism of AMI and AMS.  The bias of the author favoring Nancy McCormick Rambusch is fairly clear in the article, it describes her as “a stormy prophetess” while commenting on Mario Montessori thus

“Mario called her a heretic and withdrew the charter. “My task has been to create a society for the maintenance of the ‘pure’ Montessori,” he explains with a sigh.”

Although the article states that “Head mistress Rambusch insisted on relaxing the strict discipline of the original Montessori dogma”, it provides no details as to exactly what this means.  Did she think the 3 hour work cycle was more of a guideline than a rule, or did she think collective activities should be mandatory for the children, or did she want to use print instead of cursive sandpaper letters?  

I will continue to research the differences between Montessori organizations and the roots of the schisms, but if there are any readers with information, opinions, anecdotes, etc…  we might all benefit from your comments here if you are willing to share.


P.S. If while reading the article you become curious about Mary Baker Eddy, she was the founder of the Christian Science Religion.

*schism. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved October 01, 2008, from website:


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