My expectations of Montessori environments is based on my experiences in schools in the United States, where the law generally mandates 1 adult per 10 students. Not all adults need to have teaching credentials or degrees, and thus the result is typically a 30 student classroom (in keeping with Dr. Montessori’s recommendations) with 1 trained guide, an assistant and an aide. The guide is in charge and calls all the shots, ruler of a small kingdom as it were.
In New Zealand recent legislature is requiring ALL adults in a school be trained and certified by 2012, and currently government funding is distributed according to the percent of adults that are trained and certified. The result is a situation without assistants and aides, only trained guides collaborating together.
I am looking forward to the challenges of sharing an environment with peers, including record keeping and observation duties. I am uncertain how the children will be effected by so many trained adults in the room.
This is one example of how differences in laws can result in profound differences in classroom practices, and I find that I do not know if anyone is watching different state legislators, comparing notes, or lobbying for laws that encourage best practices.