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Child-Centred Learning

Spotlight 2025

How can learner agency be placed at the forefront of every learning experience? How do child-driven approaches centre each student and their individual learning path, passions and interests? Through this Spotlight we will identify impactful and scalable innovations in the area of Child-Centred Learning.

This initiative is undertaken in partnership with Montessori Global Education.

The challenge

Child- or learner-centred approaches can be perceived as resource-intensive and impractical, particularly when class sizes are large and educators are stretched by the demands of managing the needs of many learners simultaneously. Balancing educator and learner-centred models is crucial for preparing children to navigate a world requiring creativity, resilience and independence.

The solution

By conducting this Spotlight we aim to empower educators with examples of innovative, child-centred pedagogies and solutions that nurture creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. Ultimately, the solutions identified through this Spotlight will provide a list of high-quality, evidence-backed, scalable innovations that can support inclusive and holistic education.

What is Child-Centred Learning?

Child-centred learning follows the interests and motivation of the child in determining the path of their education. In a child-centred approach, the adult takes responsibility for designing, curating and structuring the child’s learning environment in terms of the use of time, space and learning materials.

Centering the learner shifts the dynamic from instruction- or teacher-centred practices toward an appreciation of the learner’s ability to shape their own engagement with their immediate environment. This structure provides safe, healthy and reassuring limits within which the child is encouraged in the individual pursuit of their curiosity and passions. A child-centred approach to learning allows children to experience the intrinsic rewards and inherent joy of learning. To achieve this, the educator must make an intentional practice of observing and then following the child.

What Kinds of Innovations Are We Looking For? 

We are looking for the development of innovative educational practices in child-centred learning and Montessori-inspired educational solutions. In our review of the innovations, we will consider those that demonstrate fidelity to most of the five main principles of Montessori, as well as those intentionally working towards any that they are not currently demonstrating:

  • Supporting the child as an active learner
  • Respecting the inner life of the child
  • Trusting the child’s inner motivation
  • Providing freedom within limits
  • Encouraging the child’s inner discipline

Montessori-inspired pedagogical features would especially be focused on learning and teaching practices that champion the importance of an embedded commitment to the educators' pedagogical orientation. This would influence and affect much of the learning provision.

Who Should Submit and How?

Educators, innovators, and practitioners, who may or may not be Montessori-trained, working in: 

  • Early Childhood Education through Grade 12
  • Formal and non-formal education contexts
  • Public and private sector schools

Submit your innovation by October 7, 2024, to be reviewed by HundrED’s research team, who will then, in collaboration with Montessori Global Education, shortlist the innovations for an Advisory Board review. You can submit your innovation in any language. Please note that the submission form is in English. A report highlighting the selected innovations will be launched in May/June 2025. 

Please see the submission guide.

Why submit your innovation?

Recognition: The recognition of being selected to our Spotlight collection provides third-party validation from an independent panel of international education innovation experts, which can be communicated to relevant stakeholders to support the further spread of the innovation. In addition, the application process itself can lead you to reflect on your work, outcomes, and future directions, encouraging a deeper understanding of your project.

Connections: Participation in the events organised for selected innovators facilitate networking with other organisations and individuals interested in educational innovation, potentially opening doors for future collaboration and exchange of ideas. 

Visibility: The potential to support fundraising and replication efforts with the selection recognition through awareness and publicity. 

About Montessori Global Education

Montessori Global Education is a global education organisation expanding access to Montessori to transform how we teach, learn and lead. We identify, support and spread Montessori-inspired educational solutions that will give a generation of children the skills to solve tomorrow’s problems.

Committed to nurturing children's natural curiosity, creativity, and love for learning, we are proud of our rich heritage in Montessori philosophy and methodology and offer a comprehensive portfolio of educator training, resources and consultancy services tailored to meet the needs of diverse learners and educational institutions globally.

Submit innovation

Important dates

Keep up-to-date on this project and its key dates

Submission Period Opens


Submission Period Closes


Advisory Board Review Period: January 10-24, 2025

Selected Innovations Notified: February 2024

Report Release: May/June 2025

HundrED Research

How do we evaluate the impact and scalability of education innovations? Learn more about our research methods.

Apply to review innovations

Get an exclusive peek to the world of education innovations and apply to review innovations as part of the HundrED Academy!

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