We need to consider seriously the ‘Montessori Phenom enon’ if we are to understand educational innovation and change. We need to explore, as I have tried to do in a variety of o ther contexts, the interplay of economic, social and cultural conditions that underlie developments in educational practice.1 Individual theorists and practitioners make their impact, as we see throughout the studies in this book, by means that are themselves culturally specific, working within or outside an established system of schooling, conveying ideas and exerting influence in a whole variety of ways.