By 1929 Dr. Montessori's methods had traveled all over the world and she had even certified teacher trainers to train teachers. But because there were was no oversight in these first training centers, the courses were shortened and the miracles that had been discovered in the Casa dei Bambini were no longer occurring.
For that reason in 1929 Dr. Montessori formed the Association Montessori Internationale to make sure that the training of teachers in AMI training centers would be of the same high quality no matter where they occur. The questions for the written exams are sent from the head office in Amsterdam, and the oral exams are held by AMI teacher trainers that are not connected with the training center where the exams are being held. This insures that all AMI training centers meet the same standards in order to issue AMI diplomas to their graduates.
All of the AMI Affiliated Societies can be found here: http://ami-global.org/societies
Montessori teacher training centers of the Association Montessori Internationale can be found here: http://ami-global.org/training/centres
Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. —Socrates
I never teach
my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions
SOME SPECIFIC DETAILS
OF THE MONTESSORI METHOD :
The schedule: "The Three-hour Work Period". In the three-six class there is one (sometimes two if it is a full-day schedule) 3-hour, uninterrupted, work period each day not interrupted by group activity. The "3-hour Work Period" is vital to the success of Montessori education and often misunderstood. It means that children have three hours to choose and carry out their own work. It does NOT include any required outside play, group story time "circle time," music, or any other activities which take time away from the child's own choice of activity. During this time adults and children alike respect a child's concentration and do not interrupt one who is busy at a task. All of the traditional group activities spontaneously arise according to the interest of the child or a group of children during the day, or are occasionally called by the teacher if necessary. Note: For more information on the "three-hour work period" see the chapter "My Contribution to Experimental Science" from The Advanced Montessori Method, Volume I, by Dr. Maria Montessori, or contact the Michael Olaf Montessori Company at firstname.lastname@example.org for reprint GB850
THE OUTCOME OF THE METHOD
When the environment meets all of the needs of children they become, without any manipulation by the adult, physically healthy, mentally and psychologically fulfilled, extremely well-educated, and brimming over with joy and kindness toward each other. In the following quote Dr. Montessori, speaks of the first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in Rome, illustrating the important discovery, and the core of all Montessori work today:
When the children had completed an absorbing bit of work, they appeared rested and deeply pleased. It almost seemed as if a road had opened up within their souls that led to all their latent powers, revealing the better part of themselves. They exhibited a great affability to everyone, put themselves out to help others and seemed full of good will.
Today there are research projects of all kinds being
carried out on the results of a Montessori education. As children progress
through true (as opposed to those schools who use the name, but have
no certified Montessori teachers) Montessori preschools (3-6), elementary
(k-6), middle, and high schools, they become progressively more independent
and responsible in action and thought. They carry out original research
of all kinds and quickly outgrow a teacher's expertise in many areas.
They move out into society and become thoughtful and responsible citizens
much earlier than we previously thought possible, arranging field trips,
social and ecological projects and movements, and apprenticeships. They
develop such excellent study habits that they far surpass the level
of the curriculum of traditional schools.
The adult in charge of these environments requires unique preparation. The traditional Montessori training is a full year of graduate work for each of the following three age levels, and stages of development, of children: Birth to three years Three years to six years Six years to twelve years. The Montessori middle and high school teacher ideally has taken all three training courses plus graduate work in an academic area or areas.
Out of a spirit of enthusiasm for following Dr. Montessori's ideas there is a wide variety of teacher preparation. Some have taken intensive, yearlong graduate courses, studying under experienced master teachers who have themselves undergone an exacting teacher-training certification program of several years duration. These Montessori teacher-trainees have earned their certification by passing rigorous practical, written, and oral exams. Others have simply read one of Dr. Montessori's books and applied some of her ideas in a daycare environment. Between these two extremes there are many other examples and no official check on the use of the word "Montessori." Due to the wide variation of the preparation of adult there is a corresponding variety in the success and quality of schools.
We know that allowing for the work of the inner guide is the hardest part of working in the classroom. It is easy to emphasize our own agenda; to weigh the academics disproportionately, to push for the quick solution, to substitute our will for the child's. It is so difficult to keep from over-directing, to observe without judgment, to wait for the child to reveal herself. Yet, over and over again, when we do honor that inner guide, the personality unfolds in a way that surprises - that goes beyond what we could direct or predict.
- Dr. Sharon Dubble, Ph.D., Professor, Loyola College in Maryland
Montessori education has worked all over the world, with all kinds of children (wealthy, poor, gifted, normal, learning disabled, blind, etc.) and environments (from refugee camps and slums, to elegant schools in beautiful private homes). It is not the richness of the environment that determines the success of the Montessori method, but the preparation of the teacher.
Dr. Montessori learned early in her work that the education of teachers who are able to kindle flames rather than just fill vessels is not so easy. The Montessori method is philosophically and practically different from other educational methods, and also very different from the personal educational experience of most adults who become Montessori teachers. The words "directress" or "guide" is sometimes used rather than "teacher" because of the different role of the adult in relating to the child - directing him to find the best way to learn from the environment rather than from the adult.
Good Montessori teachers come from varied backgrounds, from artists to scientists, mountain climbers and dancers, to grandmothers! What qualities are needed to become a Montessori Directress/Director?
A commitment to the full development of the child -- to helping the child's personality unfold. Someone who therefore seeks tirelessly to gain the interest of each child -- ready to enthuse him but also able to stand back and take a supporting role when the child has become engaged in his own work. Also patience, a sense of humor, and a wide variety of interests which will help to bring perspective to their work and enhance the children's lives.
- Jethryn Hall, MMI, The Maria Montessori
Institute, London, UK (previously MMTO)