The Louisiana Montessori Association (LMA) is a state-authorized nonprofit organization. Our association of independent, nonpublic Montessori schools is committed to the belief that this child-centered approach to learning helps foster the full development of the child's potential as a human being.
LMA works alongside the Louisiana Department of Education as the governing body for nonpublic Montessori schools in our state. We approve schools for state accreditation and assist Montessori teachers in achieving state certification, helping to ensure state-approved quality standards in Louisiana Montessori schools.
In 1965, Sister Mary Francis Borgia, a Dominican nun, began recruiting teachers in the Montessori philosophy of education in Southern Louisiana. Around 1971, she founded Our Lady of the Elms Montessori School in New Orleans.
Around the same time four other Montessori schools were founded in Louisiana: Children's House Institute for Learning and Development (New Orleans), Children's House (Baton Rouge), Montessori School of Baton Rouge, and the Montessori School of Shreveport. These schools were headed by Barbara Burnett, Michelle "Mike" Streiffer and Shirley Schwartz, Michaela Galasso Williams, Vera Kramer, Peggy and Norman Kinsey, and Neilson Jacobs. These individuals gained their teacher education diplomas from the St. Nicholas Center in England and AMI in Sri Lanka.
As the Montessori community became established, teachers from other backgrounds began joining the scene.
On July 31, 1976, a group of Montessori teachers met to unite their efforts by founding Louisiana Montessori Association. They began the process of writing a law recognizing Montessori educators and schools. Present at this meeting - and instrumental in having the law passed - were: Michelle "Mike" Streiffer, Shirley Schwartz, Barbara Burnett, Teryl Cash-Mason, Isabelle Toups, Lucy Perkins, and Suzanne Bassett. These women represented a wide geographic area from across Louisiana.
Since LMA's inception, Montessori leaders in our state have volunteered their time and energy to support Montessori schools and teachers in Louisiana and to advocate to maintain the integrity of Montessori education throughout the state.
In 1976, the Louisiana Montessori Association (LMA) was authorized under Louisiana State law with a mandate to certify nonpublic Montessori schools in Louisiana under La. RS 17:3401-3403 (also known as Act 400 of 1976).
Setting high professional standards for authentic Montessori education to be practiced in Louisiana nonpublic schools
Certifying and approving qualified nonpublic Montessori schools for state accreditation
Working alongside Louisiana Dept. of Education to approve teacher training programs of the highest quality
Informing the public about nonpublic accredited Montessori schools in Louisiana
Advocating for policies supporting and increasing the availability of authentic Montessori education in Louisiana
Organizing events and workshops for continuing education and dissemination of information to our member schools
Supporting members with an active network of Montessori educators