St Nicholas Montessori for adults with dementia

For the past 50 years, St Nicholas Montessori Society has been training and equipping Montessori professionals in Ireland with the hopes of bringing professionalisation to the early years sector and transforming education in the Primary education sector and beyond. 

Now, SMSI is expanding the scope of Montessori to encompass all ages, through the new groundbreaking QQI accredited Level 6 Special Purpose Award in Montessori Education for Dementia. 

In an interview with Programme Director and Montessori Dementia expert, Jennifer Brush, we learned more about this transformative programme.

Why Montessori?

Montessori is based on the principles of free choice and purposeful activity. In a Montessori community for elders, individuals with a wide range of abilities work both individually and collaboratively on an array of activities from which they are free to choose, explore, and discover (Brush, Douglas, and Bourgeois).

Montessori for adults with dementia, how? Montessori Education for Dementia respects the older person and enables them to continue to make contributions to the community in whatever way possible, encourages caregivers to make observations in order to learn about the person, encourages independence in a specially prepared environment, provides meaningful engagement for older adults, and reminds us that learning and engagement can occur at any age. This is a life changing approach to dementia care.

 The Montessori philosophy encourages and incorporates the prepared environment, freedom of movement, hands-on activities, intrinsic motivation, concentration, independence, and mixed abilities. 

This philosophy allows for a sense of individuality and joy within the individual. Older adults and children alike can utilise these attributes and flourish in their lives. 

It is at this intersection that SMSI is offering its unique expertise in the creation and delivery of one of the world’s only Montessori Education for Dementia programme.

About the programme

SNMCI is offering the standalone introductory workshop (ideal for groups of colleagues who seek insight into this field) and a Semester-long certificate programme (ideal for carers, activity professionals, social workers, nursing home directors, and leaders in the field of ageing and Montessori). The workshop and programme will now take place completely ONLINE due to COVID-19 for the 21/22 Academic Year.

 This course provides a powerful approach to dementia care that will change perspectives on ageing and dementia care. Students will learn how to create a dementia friendly physical and social environment that supports people with cognitive impairment to participate in meaningful activities that match their cognitive skills, interests and abilities. 

Students will also develop an understanding about memory loss, learning, and attention in order to best communicate with individuals living with dementia. The course will result in the tools care providers need to cope with the challenges of dementia care in order to create an environment where everyone wants to live and work.

For more information, please visit SMSI at:

Applications can be made prior to 1 January 2022 for the February intake:

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