How to Become a Montessori Teacher
Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which a child engages and try to understand them. Maria Montessori
Montessori is a teaching style developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and teacher. A Montessori teacher will function more as a role model, record keeper, demonstrator and observer of a child's behavior and growth. Montessori teachers allow their students to learn by doing.
Qualities of a Montessori Teacher
A good candidate for a Montessori teacher would be one that is an active and curious learner. They must respect a child's unique learning needs, and have an interest and respect for her/his students.
What are the Requirements for Becoming a Montessori Teacher?
Completing a college education is a good idea for prospective Montessori teachers. Not all Montessori related jobs require a college education. However, a college degree will increase the opportunities for a Montessori Education job. Montessori teachers are typically not required to major in education. The studies one completed can vary widely.
Prospective Montessori teachers should complete training at an accredited training center.
The global Montessori Association, Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), gives a full list of certified training centers. The Montessori Foundation also has an inclusive list of training locations.
Montessori Certification Areas
Once you have chosen a certified training center and are enrolled, you will want to choose an area of certification. Montessori education is a flexible teaching method that focuses on educational age ranges. There are a few different areas of certification. These include:
- 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 Training Classes
Once you have chosen an area to specialize in you can begin classes the next available training session. Some courses run year-round, and some take place over the summer. You will want to choose a training schedule that will accommodate your goals and needs.
Coursework for a Montessori teacher will range from classroom lectures, written coursework and hands-on training. This curriculum is designed so graduates feel comfortable working in a Montessori classroom, are experienced with the model of education, and who will understand the principles of a Montessori education well enough that they are able to adapt to any given situation.
Those attending a Montessori training facility will spend around 1,200 hours in instruction. This time will be spent creating Montessori teaching materials, observing classrooms and supervised teaching and completing an onsite teaching practicum.
Who Will My Students Be?
Montessori teachers will typically have mixed-age classrooms. This approach is important to the Montessori education because older students will be encouraged to teach the younger ones. The age range of children you have will depend on which area you chose as your area of certification.
What Does a Montessori Teacher Do?
Montessori classrooms are typically student led with the teacher being more of facilitator throughout the day. Students in a Montessori classroom have freedom in how and which assignments they complete. A Montessori teacher will be responsible for preparing an active and developmentally appropriate learning space. In addition, the teacher will be required to allow students to explore, discover and experience the joy of learning.
A Montessori classroom is designed to be accessible to children as they move around freely. A typical day in a Montessori classroom may include periods of quiet organized time but will mostly be made up of children going from activity to activity, as they please. The teacher will guide the students throughout the day ensuring they are experiencing the joys of learning.
Montessori Teaching Jobs & Job Description
Montessori teachers are trained in a less-traditional method of education techniques that are supported by an in-depth understanding of the developing child. Focused on younger grades, Montessori teachers consider it their mandate to act more like a child's ‘guides to the world' than teachers. While roles do vary from school to school, a Montessori teacher's job description looks somewhat like this:
- Demonstrate knowledge of Montessori philosophy
- Share knowledge of child development concepts with all stakeholders
- Gain insight into the child in order to help them reach their full potential
- Provide equitable publicity's and practices in the classroom
- Create instruction that supports the whole child's developmental arc
- Use school curriculum, current research and Montessori Albums in order to develop units of instruction
- Use a variety of assessment tools on an ongoing basis in order to fairly evaluate and make further decisions about a child's unfolding development
- Prepare a classroom and outdoor environment that meets the development of the children in the room
- Model kindness between individuals at all times
- Communicate with students and families in a way that develops a calm and positive image of the school and teacher
- Encourage students to exhibit joy in the learning process
Montessori teachers have several career options open to them - read on to discover more information about this field.
Where Can Certified Montessori Teachers Teach?
Often referred to as guides, Montessori teachers are a part of an alternative education program that is offered in more than 4,000 private schools and incorporated into more than 200 public schools in the U.S. Many Montessori teachers get their first job from connections they make during their on-site training and practicum.
To find Montessori schools in your area you can check the American Montessori Society's online job search.
Montessori Teacher Organizations & Associations
NAMTA - North American Montessori Teachers' Association: NAMTA provides schools, teachers and parents with the support to further Montessori principles and understanding.
AMS - American Montessori Society: AMS is the leading member advocacy organization, research forum and resource collaborative for the global community of Montessori educators.
AMI USA - Association Montessori International: AMI's mission is to help children achieve their potential.
International Montessori Council, Montessori Family Alliance & The Montessori Foundation: These three organizations comprise a nonprofit foundation, organization for parents and a group for Montessori educators and advocates.
MACTE - Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education: MACTE is dedicated to improving academic degree and certificate programs for Montessori professional educators who teach and lead in schools at the infant/toddler through secondary II levels.
Montessori Teacher Salary
There are many schools across the nation that the Montessori philosophy. Many Montessori teachers work in private elementary schools, and the median annual salary for private elementary school teachers in 2019, the latest year for which data is available, was $48,100.
Because of the propensity for these teachers to work in the private school setting, experience and education may not translate to higher salaries. Teachers may be able to negotiate their salaries from year to year, but those at Montessori schools likely will make $12K less per year than their counterparts at public schools with an annual salary of $60,870.
(Salary data for elementary, middle-school and high-school teachers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019. Figures represent state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed March 2021.)