'Prince George effect' sparks surge of interest in Montessori nurseries

Interest in Montessori nurseries has soared thanks to the 'Prince George effect', with parents keen on signing up their children to the same education as the future king.

The Maria Montessori Institute in London say they have been inundated with calls from parents after it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son would be attending one.

Two-year-old George was photographed on his first day at Westacre Montessori School earlier this month.

He is attending the school near his parents' country mansion, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk a few days a week.

Louise Livingston, director of training at the Maria Montessori Institute, told the Press Association: "When it was announced, our phones were ringing off the hook with people asking whether we had space in our nurseries."

She added: "We're still getting lots of calls from parents. Hopefully Charlotte will go there too."

In Bristol, The Clifton Children's House Montessori School said they had experienced a marked jump in enquiries.

Mary Lazo, manager of the nursery, which cares for 24 children aged between two-and-a-half and five years old, said there had been double the interest.

Stephen Tommis, chief executive of the Montessori St Nicholas charity, said the 'Prince George effect' has led to more curiosity over the Montessori approach.

William and Prince Harry were taught at a Montessori nursery at Mrs Mynors School in west London.

Diana, Princess of Wales, had first-hand experience of the Montessori teaching method through working at the Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico, central London, which used the system.

There are around 700 Montessori nurseries in the UK - many of which are independent and run by a variety of different organisations.

The nurseries educate children with an approach, developed by Italian Maria Montessori, founded on the belief that within each person is untapped potential that needs a fertile environment.

It aims to develop the whole child naturally through a child-centred learning approach, with the period from birth to age six seen as the time when youngsters have the greatest capacity to learn.