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Training and Certifications
There is a big difference between being "trained" and "certified". There also is a big difference between certifications.
Certification is a process where you take classes in Montessori philosophy, classroom organization and management, curriculum, and manipulatives.You will be required to write papers, make a manual which is a compilation of the Montessori Lesson plans, and pass tests.
Training can be deceptive. In theory, it is the course that you take to become a certified Montessori teacher. Sadly, in reality, anything the director of a school calls "training" is training. If you have a good director and your school is a "real" Montessori school you training will be a course that leads to certification, but if you are at a school that is not a "true" Montessori school your "training" might just be a meeting where you learn the ins and outs of a school, or where you read a little bit about Montessori philosophy.
Just because you are "trained" doesn't mean that you are "certified". If you are serious about becoming a Montessori Teacher you NEED to be Certified by a credible Montessori training Center.
Montessori Certifications and Training Centers
There are two main interpretations of the Montessori Philosophy. AMI and AMS. Both interpretations are well thought out and valid, although they differ strongly on certain points. When looking into a school you need to know which interpretation meshes more closely with your philosophical educational beliefs.
AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) - was established by Maria Montessori and her son, Mario in 1929 and has international headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In AMI schools, Montessori philosophy and curriculum are implemented in a way that is consistent with the original approach of Maria Montessori. The Montessori materials are used precisely in the manner used by Dr. Montessori without deviation or extensions; preserving what proponents of this interpretation believe is the purity of the method.
AMS (American Montessori Society) - In the late 1960 Nancy McCormick Rambusch, an AMI Montessori trained teacher founded the American Montessori Society (AMS). She firmly believed that aspects of the Montessori method had to be modified to accommodate the culture in America. In AMS schools, teachers continue the methods developed by Dr. Montessori while bringing in outside resources, materials, and ideas to extend or supplement the Montessori curriculum. Examples include the use of technology and current events.
If you are someone who believes children should have computer skills (for example being taught how to make reports with Word and presentations with PowerPoint once they are ready for it) and knowledge about appropriate current events, then you need to look for a training center that is accredited by AMS.
On the other hand, if you want to insure that your student's Montessori experience is authentic without any outside influences, or "watering down" you should look for training centers that AMI.
IMC stands for -The International Montessori Council.The International Montessori Council (IMC) is a global community of Montessori schools, teacher education programs, school administrators, educators, trustees, parent leaders, and friends of the Montessori movement. Members of the International Montessori Council are dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through Montessori education by promoting Dr. Maria Montessori'’s insights into the human potential to the general public. As of yet there is no IMC training program, but The Center for Guided Montessori Studies is working towards being the first IMC training program. There is an IMC school accreditation.
MACTE stands for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. It is an internationally recognized, standards setting and accrediting body for Montessori Teacher Eduction.
MACTE accredited teacher training programs in the US
MACTE accredited teacher training programs outside the US
There are other training centers like Modern Montessori, USAMONTESSORI, and CERDS, usually they are on-line programs, and most real Montessori schools will not, (for good reason), accept their training graduates. I won't say that they don't have their heart in the right place, but Montessori is a hands on multi-modality integrated method of education, it is hard to truly understand and learn well enough to run your own classroom simply by reading about it and looking at videos on the web. The paradigm shift from traditional education is so great that most, if not all people, need time to really observe and experience everything in action. You need time to use the materials yourself, see them in action, and how they are handled, not just in theory, but in reality - by little hands. As well as seeing how a classroom is set up and works. This cannot be done with a short little overview and a few videos. Believe me, I've seen over and over how someone with a little bit of knowledge in Montessori will have so many problems running a successful classroom, not out of inability, but because they don't understand how all the pieces fit together, that the whole program goes under. Please don't let this happen you. For example, look at USAmontessori's website they even state, “While a traditional program may be the most thorough way to acquire Montessori training,..." MOST THOROUGH way"!?! So their way isn't thorough? How can their graduates be truly effective teachers, especially in something like Montessori education which has many layers and sides if they don't have the complete idea?