I often get questions from people who are interested in getting Montessori training but have no idea where to start. Even though Montessori has been around for a long time, it is just recently coming into mainstream awareness. You have to dig a little bit to find the information you need.
Hopefully the overview presented below will give you some direction in where to start your search.
Training for Professionals
If you are planning to teach in a Montessori school or start a Montessori program of your own, you should get professional level training. There are a variety of training options available around the world. Expect to dedicate at least one year of full time study and practice to receive your certification. Training programs offered through universities are typically at the Master’s level. This should give you some idea of the advanced level of coursework that is required. Even though most Montessori training programs are not affiliated with a university, the coursework is equivalent.
There is no ranking system for Montessori training centers and no agreed-upon training that is considered the best. You will need to do some homework to find a program that fits your personality and lifestyle.
When searching for a program, look for ones that include the following:
A significant portion of the curriculum devoted to Montessori theory.
Opportunity to interact closely with classmates and instructors (a good distance learning program will provide this)
Affiliation with a respected Montessori accrediting organization (these vary from country to country)
A student teaching requirement (this can range from a few weeks to a full year)
Montessori101.org has a great article by Andrea Lulka with detailed suggestions on what to look for in a quality Montessori Teacher Education Program.
In the United States, the following organizations have the best reputation for accrediting Montessori Teacher Training:
MACTE: Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education
According to their website, MACTE is “the international standard setting and accrediting body for Montessori teacher education.”
MACTE is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) and is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE).
Their mission is to improve the level of Montessori teacher education by:
Developing valid and reliable accreditation standards that contribute toward quality Montessori teacher education;
Evaluating compliance with these standards;
Recognizing institutions and programs that demonstrate compliance with the standards;
Serving as a resource to various stakeholder groups concerning quality issues in Montessori teacher education;
Serving as a unifying body in the field of Montessori teacher education
MACTE does not accredit schools, only teacher training programs.
AMI Association Montessori Internationale
The Association Montessori Internationale is an internationally respected organization and AMI diplomas are recognized at almost all Montessori schools. Some schools may have a preference to hire or not hire AMI diploma holders, but the training will be recognized. AMI training is known for being thorough and consistent. As of the date of this blog post, the AMI website lists 17 training centers in the US.
AMI accredits schools in addition to teacher training programs. AMI affiliated training centers in the US are also accredited by MACTE.
AMS American Montessori Society
The American Montessori Society is the largest Montessori organization in the US. The majority of the Montessori training centers in the United States are affiliated with AMS, and you are likely to find one within a few hours driving distance of you. You can search for a training center near you on the AMS site. AMS training is recognized and respected in most schools in the US. It will not be accepted for a lead teacher position in AMI accredited schools. It is best to speak to the schools in your area to find out their preferences and requirements for employment.
AMS accredits schools in addition to teacher training programs. AMS affiliated training centers in the US are also accredited by MACTE.
Other Professional Training
There are a few other respected, but smaller, organizations in the US that offer Montessori training. The following are all accredited by MACTE and adhere to high standards.
- International Association of Progressive Montessori (IAPM)
- International Montessori Council (IMC)
- Independents not in a Consortium (IND)
- Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI)
- The Pan American Montessori Society (PAMS)
A note about distance learning:
Distance learning programs are becoming more popular and more affordable. However, very few are accredited by MACTE because they do not offer an in-person component. One of the few MACTE accredited distance learning programs for Montessori teacher education is CGMS: Center for Guided Montessori Studies. CGMS has a good reputation for thoroughness and accessibility. It is affiliated with the International Montessori Council.
Training for Homeschoolers
Homeschoolers may not require the vigorous coursework of professional level training. Self study combined with shorter courses should suffice for your needs. You will need to supplement your coursework with readings on Montessori theory. See the Recommended Books section below. Without a solid foundation in the theory, you will not see the results you hope for, no matter how fancy the manuals you receive from your training course are.
Important Note: If you plan to operate a home-based Montessori preschool, I recommend getting professional level training. In my opinion, it is inappropriate to call your program Montessori if you/your staff are not professionally trained. Without professional training, you may not realize what is missing from your program to make it fully authentic.
A few places to get training for homeschoolers
Montessori for the Earth by Lisa Nolan is the most affordable by far
A note about buying manuals
Many companies sell Montessori manuals, or “albums” as they’re called by Montessori teachers. I do not recommend buying these if you have not gone through a training program. They are not designed to teach you Montessori. Read more about this on Montessori101.org: What You Need to Know About Montessori Albums
Training for Parents
If your child attends a Montessori school or you simply want to incorporate some Montessori principles into your home and life, then taking some time to read books about Montessori will be sufficient. If you want to dig in further, I recommend the following online courses:
Maren Schmidt also has a wealth of free articles, webinars and newsletters that I highly recommend for Montessori parents.
The following books are available on Amazon (affiliate links)
By Maria Montessori