How to become a Montessori teacher: a step-by-step guide
Updated 1 May 2023
Parents worldwide have adopted the Montessori educational method devised by Dr Maria Montessori for their children's education. It's necessary for Montessori teachers to attain certification in this unique approach since it differs from traditional education. If you want to become a Montessori teacher, knowing the steps to take and the necessary skills can help you effectively prepare for this rewarding career. In this article, we explain how to become a Montessori teacher and the day-to-day duties involved in this role.
What is Montessori education?
Montessori provides a holistic educational approach that helps children become capable, productive and moral individuals through teaching focused on behavioural, emotional and intellectual development. Montessori teachers gain expertise in child development to guide children through discovery and foster independent learning. Teachers design special Montessori learning environments that meet the developmental needs of the children.
How to become a Montessori teacher
If you want to work in a teaching position, you may wonder how to become a Montessori teacher. Montessori teacher training has many similarities with the conventional teacher training process. Getting your qualifications from reputable providers can improve your employment prospects in private nurseries and schools. The following are 10 important steps you can take to help you become a Montessori teacher:
1. Complete your secondary education
Working as a teacher requires a strong academic record. To pursue higher or further education for Montessori training, ensure that you have GCSE passes in maths and English. Most relevant university courses require at least two A-level passes or equivalent vocational qualifications.
2. Get a level 3 qualification in early years
Many Montessori training providers expect candidates to have earned educational qualifications before starting dedicated Montessori training. The Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care is a conventional degree-level qualification that prepares you for working with children from birth to five years old. This diploma carries UCAS points that can go towards an undergraduate or master's degree.
3. Undertake an undergraduate or master's degree in education
Many Montessori teachers have undergraduate or post-graduate degrees, which employers value. Having a degree provides the broadest range of career opportunities. You can pursue undergraduate or master's degrees in the following:
4. Find an accredited training centre
Because Montessori training institutions expect you to self-fund your training, it's important to select a fully accredited, reputable training centre. Learning from an accredited training centre can be a good investment and increase your chances of finding employment. Use the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) website to find certified training centres near you.
5. Choose your speciality
Although most Montessori schools provide education for younger children, some can deliver schooling to older children up to the age of 16. Choose an area of training that applies to the age you want to work with. Here are the main types of Montessori certifications available:
Montessori 0–3 Diploma
Montessori 3–6 Diploma
Montessori 0–6 Diploma
Montessori 6–12 Diploma
Montessori 12–18 Diploma
Montessori 6–12 Foundation Certificate
Montessori Core Principles Certificate
Montessori Sports Fundamentals Certificate
6. Complete teacher training
Once you've selected a training centre and course, you can complete your training part time or over a year in structured study modules that cover one of five levels:
Assistants to Infancy (up to age 3)
Children's House (age 3 to 6)
First Plane (up to age 6)
Elementary (age 6 to 12)
Adolescent (age 12 to 18)
Montessori teacher training comprises lectures, reading sessions, observation and supervised teaching practice, all underpinned by the Montessori philosophy, methods and materials. By graduation, newly qualified teachers can deliver the hands-on, collaborative and engaging teaching characteristic of the Montessori technique.
7. Seek your first teaching job
Once you graduate, you can apply for teaching jobs with Montessori education institutions worldwide. You can find job opportunities via the AMI, online job searches or local enquiries. Most employers specify the type of Montessori diploma they require and the environment they provide, such as a Children's House or Elementary Class.
8. Show your enthusiasm and knowledge at the interview
Employers want to hire teachers that follow the Montessori philosophy and approach. In an interview, demonstrate your understanding of Montessori by showing how you teach and provide a stimulating environment where students learn independently. Here are 12 common Montessori interview questions you can prepare answers for:
What is the role of a Montessori teacher?
What is your daily routine as a Montessori teacher?
What qualities are necessary for a Montessori teacher to be successful?
What challenges do you expect in this job?
What is your approach to classroom management?
How do you assess the progress of your pupils?
If I walked into your classroom, what would I see?
How do you deal with behavioural issues in the classroom?
How do you approach classroom management?
What is your greatest achievement?
What are your strengths as a Montessori teacher?
How do you stay motivated throughout a typical working day?
9. Pass enhanced background checks
Because your job as a Montessori teacher involves working with children, employers expect you to pass enhanced background checks. The Disclosure and Barring Service undertake these checks, including criminal record checks and a review of any police data held that may apply to the role. The employer pays for these checks.
10. Consider work experience or assistant jobs
Finding your first Montessori teaching job can be challenging because many employers advertise for experienced teachers. Gaining experience by taking on work experience or volunteering in a Montessori school can help you gain potential job offers. You may find it easier to get employment initially as a Montessori teaching assistant, assisting teachers to prepare activities, managing the class and recording student observations.
Skills for Montessori teachers to develop
Montessori teachers develop a unique skill set that helps them be effective in educating their pupils. You can mention these qualities on your CV or in an interview. These skills include:
Montessori teaching keeps the focus on the child, so it's necessary for teachers to observe children carefully and be very perceptive. Teachers can support children struggling with a particular task and see things from their perspective to help them overcome the challenge. Dealing with children and parents with sensitivity and understanding builds positive and productive relationships.
Montessori training helps teachers become skilled communicators. Being able to communicate effectively with pupils, parents and colleagues is important. They use their active listening skills to understand what their pupils are saying and provide clear, age-appropriate instructions.
Related: 14 essential teacher skills
Working with children can be unpredictable and challenging. Courses train Montessori teachers in classroom management skills that strengthen their ability to stay calm and manage stressful situations. This helps them keep their focus on progressing the education of the children in their class.
Montessori education is creative, with teachers devising the best classroom setup or approach to learning new things. Teachers read widely and draw on various approved materials and resources to engage children in learning. Teachers' creativity is a great example for children learning to be imaginative and creative.
The Montessori approach requires teachers to be flexible in the classroom as they respond to the individual needs of children. This helps teachers work well under pressure and keeps classes on track. It may also be necessary for them to be able to accept and adapt to criticism from senior teachers and leadership.
What does a Montessori teaching role involve?
Montessori teachers guide children towards their potential by facilitating holistic learning experiences. This child-centred approach requires teachers to create a learning environment and select materials and activities the children can use largely independently. Typical duties of a Montessori teacher include:
creating Montessori lesson plans that include topics, objectives, materials and delivery
preparing Montessori learning environments that meet the needs of the children
supervising the children throughout their day
facilitating opportunities for all children to learn
observing the children at work and making notes on their personal progress or any issues that arise
engaging parents and involving them in the learning process
dealing with accidents and caring for sick or injured children
assisting children with dressing and feeding
participating in staff meetings, training and appraisals
keeping records and writing reports
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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