Caveat emptor! Not every school which claims to be a Montessori school adheres to the founder's standards and methods. That is because the name Montessori has never been protected by trademark or copyright law. As a result, you can have a Montessori school of any strength of Montessori-ness you can imagine. In truth, the genuine article is a school which is a member of the American Montessori Society. It will have been officially sanctioned by the association. It will have certified Montessori teachers using Montessori methods and equipment. That is not to say that a school which claims to be a Montessori school but is not part of the national association is any less good or effective. That, as always, depends on the quality of the teachers and teaching. Just be aware that Montessori has become a household name, much like 'Xerox' is synonymous with 'copying'.
What, then, is so appealing about Dr. Montessori's methods? At the heart of her philosophy is the idea that children learn differently from adults and that they should be allowed to learn wherever and whatever their own innate curiosity inspires them to do. Learning by rote is eschewed. The child's soul finds its own center and manner of expressing itself. Achievements flow from that self-confidence. It all sounds so hopelessly naive and quaint. But, it works. Legions of Montessori schools, former and current students and satisfied parents can attest to that.