Interest in Montessori nurseries soars after Prince George enrols

Chloe Best

The Prince George effect strikes again! While the young royal is no stranger to setting fashion trends, he has also inadvertently sparked interest in Montessori nurseries since he began attending the Westacre Montessori School at East Walton earlier this month.

The Maria Montessori Institute in London, which runs several schools and a Montessori teacher training centre, has revealed that they have been inundated with calls from parents wishing to send their child to a Montessori nursery since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they had enrolled their son at one in December.

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Prince George began attending a Montessori nursery in January

Louise Livingston, director of training at the Maria Montessori Institute, told the Press Association: "When it was announced, our phones were ringing off the hook with people asking whether we had space in our nurseries.

"We're still getting lots of calls from parents. Hopefully Charlotte will go there too."

Meanwhile Stephen Tommis, chief executive of the Montessori St Nicholas charity, said that the "George effect" has definitely sparked a fresh interest in the Montessori teaching method.

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George attends the Westacre Montessori School at East Walton

"I think people with very young children are a little curious," he said. "Many people have heard of Montessori but they don't know what it means and they're thinking, 'If the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen a Montessori nursery, they have for good reason'. It's increased curiosity."

Prince George is following in the footsteps of his father Prince William by attending a Montessori nursery; both William and his younger brother Prince Harry were educated the Montessori way at the insistence of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Montessori method was invented by Dr Maria Montessori to teach deprived children in Italy. It focuses on the individual development of each child rather than using tests and grades and children of different ages share classes.

They are encouraged to help each other and learn "practical life skills". There are more than 600 Montessori schools in the UK, but the method has been criticised for giving children too much freedom in the classroom and shunning homework.