The Louisiana Montessori Association (LMA) is a state authorized non-profit organization. Our association of independent nonpublic Montessori schools is committed to Montessori education. This innovative child-centered approach to learning empowers the child with a sense of independence and helps foster the full development of the child's potential as a human being.
Through the efforts and leadership of Montessori educators and leaders, Louisiana has become a leader in Montessori education in the United States. Those efforts have provided for a state recognized and accredited Louisiana Nonpublic Montessori School System, consisting of nonpublic Montessori schools and nonpublic Montessori teachers in Louisiana.
LMA works alongside the Louisiana Department of Education. We help to ensure state approved quality standards in Montessori education. We certify nonpublic Montessori schools for state accreditation and certify nonpublic Montessori teachers for state certification.
Working in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), we help educate nonpublic Montessori schools and teachers about state accreditation and certification standards and procedures. We advise schools and teachers as to the steps necessary to achieve and maintain those standards in order to become fully state accredited schools and state certified teachers.
In 1965 a Dominican nun, Sister Borgia, began recruiting teachers in the Montessori philosophy of education in Southern Louisiana. Around the same time five schools were founded: Our Lady of the Elms (New Orleans), 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, Michelle Galasso Williams, Vera Kramer, Peggy and Norman Kinsey, and Neilson Jacobs. These individuals gains their teacher education diplomas from the St. Nicholas Center in England and AMI in Sri Lanka. Sometime later, teachers from other backgrounds began appearing on the scene.
On July 31, 1976, a group of Montessori teachers met to unite their efforts in support of Montessori education in Louisiana by founding Louisiana Montessori Association. They began the process of writing a law recognizing Montessori educators and schools. At that first 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 woment represented a wide geographic area from across Louisiana. Since its 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). Since that time, we have functioned to support Montessori schools and teachers to become state accredited and credentialed, and to advance quality Montessori education in Louisiana.