“I Realised My Dream of Opening My Own Montessori School


Lucy Forrester graduated from our AMI Diploma 3-6 course in 1992 and has had a varied career teaching in Montessori schools. She now runs her own Children’s House, the East Sussex Montessori School in a beautiful church building in the village of Alfriston. She shares her experience of training and working in Montessori:

“When I was studying for my A Levels, I had no clear idea about what I wanted to do next. Several members of my family were teachers but none of them worked in early years education and until I heard about the Montessori approach, I hadn’t even considered entering the profession. Then a family friend who knew about the Maria Montessori Institute suggested that I should find out more about the training they offered and I was intrigued.

“I visited the Maria Montessori School in Hampstead and my passion was sparked. I fell in love with the Montessori approach and knew I wanted to train. My vivid memories of seeing the equipment for the first time, particularly the Golden Beads, have never left me! I was struck by the difference with other educational settings.

AMI Diploma 3-6

“As I would go on to learn, in Montessori the children follow their own interests at their own pace, selecting materials, mastering challenges and building on their achievements and skills. On this first visit I was also impressed by the role the children played in caring for their community and their classroom environment and that they were sympathetic to the needs of others. As I would later discover, this is what makes teaching in such a setting so rewarding for everyone involved. 

“There are other Montessori courses out there but they are just not comparable: the AMI Diploma is the one, once you know you know.”


“After my visit to the Maria Montessori School and training centre I was completely hooked not only on the Montessori approach, but also on the quality and authenticity of training offered by the Maria Montessori Institute. I knew that I had made the right decision. Aged 18 I moved from rural Worcestershire to London and I have never looked back. 

“The trainers at the Institute were inspirational, I learned so much and have continued to build on my knowledge over the 30 years since I graduated. There are other Montessori courses out there but they are just not comparable: the AMI Diploma is the one, once you know you know and I’m just so glad that I was lucky enough to stumble across the Maria Montessori Institute at the start of my journey. With the AMI Diploma, you are trained in-depth in the authentic approach and learning materials developed by Maria Montessori that work so well. The AMI Diploma is highly-respected and will enable you to be the best teacher you can be.

“Following my training I worked in several schools in London and ran one in Oxfordshire. In 2007 I moved to Eastbourne in East Sussex to realise my dream of opening my own school. Having the school has not been without challenges; I’ve had to move premises four times and faced closure as I was unable to find suitable premises in Eastbourne. Widening my search, in 2022 the school moved to beautiful new premises in a rural location in the village of Alfriston.


“Running your own school can be challenging and tiring but is invariably hugely rewarding and no two days are ever the same. The responsibilities are significant, but the rewards are enormous. Without doubt the best part of my job is being with the children; setting them on their educational journey; watching them grow and flourish and knowing that the skills they master will be invaluable to them for the rest of their lives.

“I attend the annual AMI Refresher courses offered by the Maria Montessori Institute and find them invaluable; not only to keep abreast of current ideas and expand my knowledge but it is wonderful to be with like-minded people with a shared passion and commitment. Being part of the Montessori family is such a confidence booster and always serves as a spur to continue with what I hold so dear and believe in so fervently.

“Going forward, I hope to continue to offer a high standard of teaching at my school, to build on what I have accomplished thus far and to encourage all the children attending my school to explore, achieve and be part of a happy, caring community. I’m as passionate as ever about my work, it really is my vocation!”

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