Part 1Becoming Certified
- Complete a college education for the greatest range of opportunities. For aspiring Montessori teachers, a college education is a very smart idea. Though not every single Montessori-related job will require a college education, many states in the U.S. (and many countries outside the U.S.) have this as a requirement for Montessori teachers. In addition, the lack of a college degree may, in certain situations, qualify you only to become certified only for assistant-level positions. For these reasons, a college degree can greatly expand the range of Montessori opportunities available to you.
- Luckily, Montessori teachers-in-training usually aren't required to have majored in education or a related field in college. Many successful Montessori teachers originally studied in fields as diverse as law, engineering, or the humanities.
- Pick an accredited training center. Montessori certification training is a serious investment — though it will give you valuable skills and credentials, it can cost thousands of dollars and require a year or more to complete. Because of this, it's very, very important to be sure that the training center you enroll at is fully accredited by a recognized Montessori accreditation agency. Most legitimate training centers will be more than happy to disclose their accreditation status with you. If the training center you're thinking of enrolling in lacks the proper credentials, do not enroll — this can be a huge waste of your time and money.
- Luckily, Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the global Montessori association, has a directory of certified training centers available on its website. In addition, The Montessori Foundation has a more extensive list of training locations.
- Note that, in the United States, accreditation from the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) is generally seen as the definitive sign of a training program's legitimacy.
- Choose an area of certification. Contrary to popular belief, Montessori isn't just a style of teaching for preschool-aged children. In fact, it's a versatile teaching method that's used for children up to (and, in rare instances, through) their teenage years. While the foundational principles of Montessori teaching are the same for all Montessori classrooms, the techniques and skills used to teach different ages of children can vary substantially, so, in general, most people who want to become a Montessori teacher need to specialize in one or more educational age ranges. The most commonly-offered areas of certification are:
- Infant & Toddler: (0 - 3 years)
- Early Childhood: (2.5 - 6 years)
- Elementary I (6 - 9 years)
- Elementary II (9 - 12 years)
- Elementary I & II (6 - 12 years)
- Montessori administration
- Note that some special programs offer skills for teaching children up to age 18.
- Enroll in a training program. When you've located a fully accredited training center near you, you'll want to enroll in the next available training session. The precise start and end dates of your training period will vary based on your training agency — for instance some courses run year-round, while others take place over one, two, or more summers. Pick a training schedule that accommodates your goals and needs.
- Montessori training programs vary in price, but, in general, you should expect to spend at least several thousand dollars. For instance, some relatively low-cost Infant/Toddler training programs run at about $2, 000 in total.
- Complete your coursework. Though training programs can vary, in general, people training to become Montessori teachers attend classroom lectures, complete written coursework, and practice hands-on training. The mixture of abstract and practical work offered by most Montessori programs is designed to produce a graduate who is comfortable and experienced working in a Montessori classroom setting and who understands the principles of Montessori teaching well enough to adapt to any situation. In general, Montessori teachers-in-training should expect to:
- Complete approximately 1, 200 hours of instruction in total.
- Demonstrate an ability to create Montessori teaching materials for all subjects.
- Participate in approximately 90 hours of classroom observations and supervised teaching.
- Complete an on-site teaching practicum.
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