Recognition of 50 Years of Montessori Work

Susan Mayclin Stephenson first began explaining Montessori in 1971, through a school newsletter that helped families of her students understand the essence of Montessori. She has continued to write and speak, based on personal experience, since that time.

Here is a quote from the upcoming book on observation and record keeping for the primary and elementary class, Please Help Me Do It Myself:

Rather than focusing first of all on the academic work in class, when I had a meeting with parents, I showed the parents the concentration graphs for their child. This kept the focus on the value of their child learning to independently choose work, to experience deeper and longer periods of concentration, and the positive results of this experience.

I found that this was an excellent way for parents not only to begin to understand Montessori, but to look for, and hesitate to interrupt, their child’s concentration at home.  

Her international work with children, parents, and teachers, and as a lecturer and examiner for Montessori teacher courses, has been shared in her books. They do not attempt to replace Montessori teacher training, but give clear ideas for supporting human development using Montessori principles, in school, at home, and in other places and situations.

CLICK: First Montessori Books

For Susan’s many years in the Montessori field, she has been given an award by GWI, Graduate Women International, an organization formed in Europe many years ago to support the education of girls and women worldwide.  Here is a link to the website of GWI:


Here is the English translation of text of the recognition which was given by the director of the organization in Switzerland in collaboration with the Paraguay GWI branch. It was giving at a zoom meeting with attendees from Spain and from many countries in Latin America:

IN RECOGNITION of Susan Mayclin Stephenson for her 50 years of dedication to Montessori and her values of Education Without Borders.

Over the past fifty years, Susan has carried out a variety of Montessori jobs in thirty-two countries on six continents. Her goal has always been to learn as much as she teaches, and to understand Montessori through the eyes of the people she works with, and be able to help in as many ways as possible. Each of her eight books, based on this work, shows Montessori from a different perspective. Two of them have already been translated into Spanish.

Susan has AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) diplomas for ages 0-3, 3-6 and 6-12. She has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from San Francisco State University, a Master’s in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, and studied multiple intelligence with Howard Gardner at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

She has worked as a counselor for teens, administrator of a Montessori school, guide for parents of infants and toddlers at home, and teacher for children and young adults, ages two to eighteen in Montessori environments. She is a teacher, school consultant, and oral examiner of AMI for teacher training courses. She has been invited by educational departments of national governments in places such as Thailand, Mongolia, Peru, Colombia, Russia, Sikkim and Romania to discuss the use of the Montessori principles in their schools.

Susan is a mother and grandmother. She and her husband homeschooled their youngest son during primary, high school and high school. They live in Northern California, close to the coast and surrounded by redwood trees.

It is our great honor to recognize Susan with this award from Graduate Women International.


In 1899 Maria Montessori represented Italy at the International Feminist Congress in London, where there were 500 other speakers. Here is a quote from her speech:

Progress leads to the invention of machines that substitute for woman’s work. Now [women] must apply their energies differently. Instead of speaking with their hearts, they will speak with their brains. I hope that all women will be enamored of scientific reason which does not suffocate the voice of the heart but rather explains the reasons of the heart and supports it.

While in London Montessori met with physicians specializing in special education, and visited schools based on the methods of her French mentor Edouard Sequin. For the first time, she saw the materials that will prove to open the path to independent actions and thought in children, to social-emotional learning, to intellectual and moral education: the dressing frames, the materials to teach two and three dimensional geometric forms, the beginning language and math materials, all of which were invented half a century earlier. 

In 1906, a year before she opened the first Montessori kindergarten, casa dei bambini, in the slums of Rome, she published a proclamation inviting all Italian women to join the illegal initiative to register to vote, her words: All women, rise up! Your first duty in this social movement is to demand the vote.

Thirteen years later, in 1919, Graduate Women International was founded. I have not been able to find out if Montessori was aware of this movement but surely, she would have supported it. Throughout her life Montessori stood for the discovery of all that is good in people, and supported the best of development, and education, of children and adults.

Here are words from the mission of graduate women International: Promote international cooperation, friendship, peace and respect for human rights for all, irrespective of their age, race, nationality, religion, political opinion, gender and sexual orientation or another status.

In our Montessori work we see clearly that when the needs of the infant, the father and mother, the child, the young adult, the grandparents, the extended family, and every member of society are met, people can see each other without prejudice, they begin to listen to each other. They hear each other. This is the first step to peace.

Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this great work to support the education of girls. It is an honor to be recognized by you. I wish you all the best in this important work throughout the world.


3 thoughts on “Recognition of 50 Years of Montessori Work

  1. Patricia D. Craft-Heuer January 6, 2022 / 9:01 pm

    Congratulations Susan, you make the world a better place.

  2. Barbara Kahn January 7, 2022 / 2:05 am

    Susan and her family has been a gift to the Montessori world internationally. She is a tireless crusader for Maria’s message. I have grown through knowing Susan.

  3. Jim and Roberta Cummesky January 13, 2022 / 2:16 am

    Roberta and I are so blessed to have shared a tiny slice of your 50 years! The warmest wishes for the future!!

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