Does Montessori Teach Critical Race Theory?

Montessori School
Photo of author
Written By Poonam Singh

I am co-founder of and Principal of Cambridge Montessori Preschool Bangalore.

Critical race theory is a concept that examines the impact of racism on people from different racial and ethnic groups. It can be found in Montessori education and mainstream schools, so if you’re curious, this blog post will teach you all there is to know! Stay tuned for more information!


Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a legal and social analysis framework that examines how racism, power, and privilege shape society. It seeks to uncover how racism is embedded in the social structures that shape our lives, including the education system.

Looking at race, power, and privilege from a critical perspective helps us identify how we can challenge racist beliefs and practices. CRT encourages us to think about how race has been used historically to structure access to resources and opportunities for some people while denying them to others. It also emphasizes the need for collective action to achieve justice.

Ultimately, Critical Race Theory helps us move toward an equitable society where people of all races can thrive.

Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory

What is critical race theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an academic movement focused on understanding and eradicating racism in all its forms. It examines the structures of power and privilege, interrogating how they shape our lives and experiences.

By exploring the law, literature, history, and other disciplines through a racial lens, CRT reveals how racism has been embedded in our society since its inception. This understanding can then be used to create a more equitable world.

CRT centers the voices of marginalized groups and works to empower them to challenge oppressive systems and make social change.

Exploring Montessori’s Roots and Philosophy

Montessori education is an educational approach that emphasizes learning through exploration and discovery, encourages positive relationships among students and teachers, and fosters lifelong learners with strong problem-solving skills and social-emotional development. This method of education was founded by Italian physician Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s.

It focuses on giving children the freedom to explore their environment, make choices, and learn at their own pace to develop self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Montessori education aims to help children become independent thinkers stimulated by new experiences while having solid social-emotional development.

The principles of this teaching method involve the following:

  • Using tangible objects to teach children.
  • Providing a stimulating environment that encourages exploration and curiosity.
  • Emphasizing hands-on activities.
  • Tailoring instruction to each child’s needs.
  • Promoting cooperation rather than competition between students.
  • Nurturing every child’s natural curiosity.

These methods are employed in the classroom to create an enjoyable learning atmosphere for all students.

Montessori education is based on the scientific observation that children learn best when they are allowed freedom and structure in an environment. Rather than relying solely on academics or traditional teaching methods, Montessori educators emphasize hands-on learning experiences, peer collaboration, social interaction with adults, and self-direction.

By providing this approach to early childhood education, educators hope to help young children develop critical thinking skills and become responsible citizens who value individual contributions.

Montessori and Diversity

How Does Montessori Approach Diversity?

Montessori schools recognize and value the unique backgrounds of their students. This is done Through engaging in activities and conversations about different races, ethnicities, genders, etc. Montessori teachers hope to create a space where all students feel welcomed and understood.

Montessori schools believe that teaching children about respecting people from different backgrounds is essential. Teachers are encouraged to discuss these topics with students in an age-appropriate way to develop an open-minded attitude toward diversity. Additionally, Montessori classrooms often contain multicultural materials such as books or art which depict different cultures and customs.

Montessori education emphasizes hands-on learning experiences that help students better understand the world around them. By taking field trips to places with various cultural perspectives or exploring the history of different countries through role-play activities or simulations, children can gain more knowledge about other cultures in a fun and interactive way.

The Montessori approach to diversity is founded on open dialogue and opportunities for hands-on learning experiences that foster understanding between students and staff. This philosophy emphasizes the importance of having frank discussions about race, gender identity, and other forms of diversity.


What Is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is an educational framework that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates the unique cultural backgrounds of students. It focuses on creating a positive learning environment for all students by recognizing and valuing their differences. CRT strives to help students develop an understanding of their own culture as well as those of others.

Through this approach, educators can foster an inclusive classroom where everyone’severyone’s experiences and perspectives are acknowledged, respected, and celebrated. By establishing a sense of belonging in the school, CRT helps create a safe space for learning that encourages collaboration and dialogue among all learning community members.

Additionally, CRT allows educators to effectively equip students with the skills to navigate our increasingly diverse world.


Incorporating Social Justice Into the Montessori Classroom

Social justice is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum, as it supports children’schildren’s individual development and respects their right to quality education. Including social justice elements in the classroom ensures that all students benefit equally.

Social justice is an important topic to discuss in Montessori classrooms. Educators can focus on cultivating empathy and understanding of diverse cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Critical Race Theory (CRT) can also be used to explore race issues respectfully. It is also essential to build relationships with students’ families so that educators understand their unique perspectives better.

Racism, bias, and other forms of discrimination should be taught in a way that helps students understand their preferences and how these affect their lives. Additionally, educators must make sure all students have access to quality materials that accurately represent different groups of people.

Supporting diversity in education will help all students feel accepted and respected, regardless of their cultural or ethnic background. Including social justice within Montessori classrooms can create an equitable learning environment for everyone involved.

Teaching Children About Systemic Racism and Inequality

Systemic racism and inequality have been a part of society for centuries. With the help of educators, we can begin to create change by teaching our children about systemic racism and inequality. By having open conversations with them, we can equip them with the knowledge they need to see injustice in the world around them and take action toward creating a more equitable society.

One way to help children understand systematic racism and inequality is through critical race theory. This approach focuses on how race shapes people’speople’s interactions and the distribution of resources. Teachers are encouraged to challenge their own biases, examine their privilege, and work towards supporting marginalized communities.

In Montessori classrooms, teachers often integrate CRT into their lessons by using materials such as books, films, podcasts, articles, images, posters, etc., which provide a platform for meaningful discussions around issues such as discrimination based on skin color or gender identity.

Through these conversations, students learn how certain beliefs have been used throughout history to perpetuate racist thinking and behavior. They also learn how these beliefs continue to be perpetuated today in subtle ways, such as language choices or everyday actions that uphold systems of oppression.

A way to engage young people socially about social justice issues is by having conversations that allow them to see the reality of these problems. In doing so, they will be better equipped with the information they need to effect change within their communities.

Teaching children about racism

Examining Privilege and Bias in the Montessori Curriculum

Montessori educators strive to create a safe and supportive environment for all students, but it is essential that they critically examine their own biases and privilege. By considering issues such as enrollment obstacles, teacher identity, or anti-bias/anti-racist curriculum, Montessori educators can create an equitable learning space for all students.

When enrolling students in a classroom, there is often an unconscious bias that can lead to a lack of diversity. To combat this issue, educators should critically examine their admissions process and make sure any potential barriers or unfair practices are removed. Additionally, they should work towards making the school as diverse as possible, given the community within which it exists.

As a teacher, it is important to understand your own identity and any biases you may have. Educators should also be aware of anti-bias/anti-racist curricula to effectively teach these topics without reinforcing stereotypes or racism in the classroom.

To create an equitable education for all students, educators should examine Privilege and Bias in a Montessori setting. Only by challenging our preconceived notions about race can we ensure that every student has access to an educational experience free from discrimination or prejudice.

Encouraging Empathy and Social Change in Students

Educators can encourage empathy among students by applying critical race theory to create a more equitable and inclusive learning environment. This theoretical approach allows teachers to question their own biases from a critical perspective. In this way, they are better equipped to empower their students with the knowledge and understanding necessary to identify and address issues of injustice in meaningful ways.

Empathy has been shown to improve mental health, promote social harmony, and reduce bullying. When children have a strong sense of compassion, they can better understand the perspectives of others, build healthy relationships with diverse people, and make positive changes in their communities.

Teachers can foster this attitude by discussing important topics related to race (e.g., racism), gender identity (e.g., transgender rights), classism (e.g., income inequality), ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities), or any other relevant issue with their students during classroom discussions.”

In addition, teachers should encourage self-reflection around personal experiences with racism or oppression while simultaneously teaching anti-oppression theories such as Critical Race Theory (CRT).

CRT is an essential tool for understanding how systems of power shape our lives and how we can challenge them through education and activism. By understanding these power dynamics between racial groups within society – historically and presently – students become more aware of the structures that perpetuate inequality today.

Engaging with sensitive yet critical topics in the classroom can help teachers foster an environment where all students feel respected, regardless of differences. This process will also give educators knowledge about other cultures, which can have lasting impacts on their students’ lives.

Social Change

Implementing Anti-bias Education Strategies

It is important to implement anti-bias education strategies to create a more equitable and just society. Anti-discrimination work challenges the prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination in our world. It encourages people to examine their biases and think critically about how they may perpetuate these prejudices. This critical thinking can lead us toward creating a more inclusive environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued.

In Montessori classrooms, it is crucial to implement anti-bias education by engaging in activities that explore diversity. Teachers should also strive to create an environment of safety by providing students with space for dialogue on topics related to bias and racism. Additionally, educators can give anti-bias education by exploring different cultures through literature and discussing current events related to race.

It is also crucial for teachers and administrators to examine their internalized biases to provide effective anti-bias education for their students. This includes understanding the history of racism and oppression today and recognizing the various forms of privilege within our society. By being aware of these dynamics, teachers can help students become more aware of the intersections between race and class so they can learn how oppression affects individuals from different backgrounds differently.

It is essential for creating a more equitable society that educators teach about the importance of diversity and how to combat oppressive systems in our current community. By doing this, students can understand why it is essential to respect people from all backgrounds while also learning how they can take an active role against discriminatory practices today.


This study concludes that Montessori schools are not immune to racial disparities in discipline and should take proactive steps to address them. Montessori pedagogy is based on the belief that each child is unique and should be respected. As such, racism has no place in a Montessori classroom.

However, educators need to recognize the existence of implicit biases and take steps to ensure that those biases do not impact student outcomes. This can include training on cultural competency, engaging families from diverse backgrounds in meaningful ways, and examining discipline policies for potential biases or inequitable practices.

By addressing these issues head-on, Montessori schools can ensure their classrooms remain safe, equitable spaces for all students.

I am co-founder of and Principal of Cambridge Montessori Preschool and DayCare Kaggadasapura Branch. I am also a Montessori certified teacher and have 5+ years of experience working with kids.

Leave a Comment