How teachers are trained
The Montessori classroom looks a little bit different than what we typically think of as a traditional preschool environment.
A question that often arises is,
“How are the adults in the classroom trained? Are they trained differently than in conventional programs? What makes Montessori teachers so unique?”
We’d love to take a minute to answer this wonderful question – although we could spend an entire day singing the praises of Montessori teachers – and get to the bottom of how Montessori teachers help make Montessori schools some of the most sought after programs in the world.
Here we go:
There are at least two adults in each Montessori classroom — a teacher and a trained, non-teaching assistant.
Our teachers, who we actually refer to as guides (because it’s more about following the interests of each and every student, rather than overt, didactic instruction), undergo rigorous Montessori training.
A Bachelor’s degree is required to begin training and many guides often choose to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education concurrent to their training. This training is completed at one of many training centers throughout the world.
As a frame of reference, our head of school, June George, finished her training at the prestigious Maria Montessori Institute in London. Charlotte Wood, our head of community, completed her course work at Montessori Northwest, in Portland, Oregon.
Jamie Bauer completed her training at the Montessori Institute of Denver, while Sarah Skaff and Kaylee Jones completed their training in St. Louis. You can explore where other Association Montessori Internationale training centers are located in the United States here.
“ As many of you know, Baan Dek is the first and only accredited Association Montessori Internationale in the state of South Dakota. ”
As many of you know, Baan Dek is the first and only accredited Association Montessori Internationale in the state of South Dakota. What’s involved in training? For starters, the training is at minimum a nine-month academic year program, sometimes spread over multiple summers to accommodate classroom work during the academic year.
All of our guides at Baan Dek are Montessori trained and we’ve had several staff members decide to pursing their training after working in the classroom as an assistant.
So, what happens during training?
During training, prospective guides learn about Montessori Philosophy, the Montessori Materials, and Child Development. Though a Bachelor’s Degree is a prerequisite, many come to Montessori Education from diverse backgrounds unrelated to Education; at Baan Dek, for instance, we have team members with degrees in English, Music, Philosophy, Communications, and Religion, to name a few.
In addition to lectures and time to practice with materials, guides also spend time observing in established classrooms at other accredited Montessori schools, as well as practice teaching. This affords guides an opportunity to not only hone their skills, but to also become accustomed to other cultural approaches and practices.
Our classroom assistants at Baan Dek are also trained. We devote lots of time to training, as all staff members are responsible for the positive development of children at Baan Dek.
We relish our staff inservice days, and the continuing education we do, individually and as a team. We read books and articles, on Montessori, education, sociology. We share TED talks and NY Times articles about nutrition, brain science, and happiness. We believe work with young children is not purely academic, and our areas of study and of interest reflect that.
We think Baan Dek is special because of the people who are here. We love our work, and who we get to work with. We are passionate and dedicated, constantly striving to improve and to ask big questions.
Our learning never ends.
Written by:Bobby George