What Montessori Training Really Is (or Should Be!)
Good quality Montessori training is a very deep study of childhood development; it is a spiritual transformation; it is an analysis of everything it takes to help the child.
~Mary Ellen Maunz, M.Ed., Founder, Program Director, Age of Montessori
Training to become a Montessori educator is much more than learning a teaching method. To truly study the mission of Montessori, is to embark upon a life-changing journey. The immense breadth and depth of Montessori’s wisdom is as applicable to adults as it is to children. No matter what the age, from prenatal to end-of-life care, the Montessori approach is about helping humanity. Dr. Maria Montessori referred to education as “help to life.”
This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single centre. Mothers, fathers, politicians: all must combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.
~Dr. Maria Montessori
Education is Help to Life
Dr. Elisabeth Caspari, student and friend to Maria Montessori as well as the inspiration for Age of Montessori, called Montessori “the great mother of humanity.” Dr. Montessori dedicated her life to helping mankind, at every stage of life.
The only real danger in humanity is the emptiness in men’s souls. ~Dr. Maria Montessori
While it is true that most of us associate Dr. Montessori with her amazing discoveries about early childhood, Montessori did not limit her studies to any one stage of the human lifespan. Montessori’s wisdom is relevant to all ages and stages of development, from parents of prenatal children, to infant and toddler development, to elementary and secondary school age, to adult, and even to Alzheimer’s patients. As Mary Ellen Maunz, Age of Montessori Founder and Program Director, explains, “[…]it is truly cradle-to-grave because the definition of Montessori’s education is ‘help to life.’”
A quality, authentic Montessori teacher training will offer an in-depth understanding of what Montessori really is. It is essential to understand--not just the ideas--but the purpose behind the ideas. Only when you understand the purpose of each principle can you individualize that principle to each child, classroom, or community. Only when you fully understand the concept behind the lesson can you customize that lesson to the pupil’s specific needs. This is a critical component of Montessori’s method.
Age of Montessori teaches a balance of liberty and discipline. Liberty and discipline are two sides of the same coin; you can’t have one without the other. True freedom, true liberty comes from starting with a base of discipline and practice. ~Unifying Principles of Montessori Education Webinar
Affiliation or Accreditation
“It is a substantial undertaking to become a Montessori teacher,” explains Mary Ellen Maunz. “Unfortunately it is not always recognized as such.” Almost as long as there has been Montessori education, there have been misinterpretations or corruptions of Montessori’s ideals. As a result, Maria Montessori founded AMI (The Association Montessori Internationale) in 1932 to protect the integrity of her methodology. In 1939, Maria Montessori met Elisabeth Caspari and the two became friends. Caspari trained extensively in the Montessori method during their four-year association in Adyar, India. Fast forward to 1960 and AMS (American Montessori Society) is established by Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch. AMS has since become the largest Montessori society in the world. Then in 1972, PAMS (Pan American Montessori Society) was founded by Elisabeth Caspari and Dr. Feland L. Meadows. In 1998, Caspari also founded the Caspari Montessori Institute (CMI) with friend Anita Wolberd.
MEPI or Montessori Educational Programs International was founded in 1995. IAPM or International Association of Progressive Montessorians came along around 1980. And finally, the IMC or International Montessori Council was established in 1998. There are also numerous, quality independent teacher training programs which include Age of Montessori, founded by Mary Ellen Maunz and inspired by Elisabeth Caspari.
The bottom line is that there are many organizations that train Montessori teachers in the United States and throughout the world, but in the United States there is only one accrediting body and that is MACTE. ~Mary Ellen Maunz
MACTE or the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education is the international standard-setting and accrediting body for Montessori teacher education. MACTE is the sole accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for Montessori Teacher education programs. “If a student wants training that will allow them to be hired at reputable schools around the country and, more and more, around the world, they need to select a course that is MACTE-accredited,” explains Mary Ellen Maunz.
If you would like to learn more about Montessori Teacher Training programs, we invite you to watch Age of Montessori’s information rich webinar:
Montessori gave us a powerful message–so much more than a method. Join us for an evening of honoring the many individuals and organizations who share the deep commitment to spreading Montessori’s life-changing message. We will take a look at our shared history and the dynamic principles we share in common and represent in our unique ways, like the many facets of a shining jewel.