International Montessori
Training Institute

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Atlanta GA 30333

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Why AMI Training?

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Association Montessori InternationaleCourses which are certified by the Association Montessori Internationale must meet rigorous standards, both in course content and in the qualification of the teacher training staff. The component of training that makes AMI unique is that the focus of our work is on understanding the child, resulting in a deeper knowledge of oneself, as well as the intensive study of the Montessori materials. Along with the theory, lectures, practice, albums, field placements, and material making, there are practical sessions to help the new teacher in implementation in areas such as:

AMI courses have several hundred hours of lecture on theory. People who have completed other courses have often come to our course due to a lack of complete understanding of the psychology of the child and the Montessori philosophy. This is true even when the employer has not required further credentials. The focus is on the child rather than on the materials, or curriculum.

All AMI courses are conducted by trainers. The preparation to become a trainer is arduous, taking at least four years, after requiring a number of previous years of successful work in one’s own classroom. No other accreditation has such a formalized process, with in-depth study and supervision. Every course is evaluated through the oral exam process at the end of the course. External examiners come to examine the trainees, at which time an evaluation of the Center also occurs. This ensures that all AMI courses are of the same high standard worldwide.

The course is predominantly considered "pre-service." Hundreds of hours of supervised practice with the materials are required which follow demonstrations by the trainers. Provided during the hours of the delivery of the course at the Institute, this occurs before the students go out on observation and practice teaching placements. This protects the trainee, so that he or she is assured the purest delivery of Montessori theory, rather than depending on the personal interpretation of the classroom teacher where the trainee is placed. Once out on a field placement, the training staff visits the trainee, so that in-depth dialogue can occur that integrates theory and practice.

The Pink TowerStudents on an AMI course write their own albums which become their reference books for life. They do their own illustrations as well. The homework on the course, therefore, is considerable, as the writing and re-writing takes great analysis of movement and comprehension. Our graduates share that the process left them with deep understanding of sequences, parallel activities, indirect preparations in learning, isolation of difficulties, points of consciousness, and controls of error which fully prepared them for the written and oral exam process.

Although the albums are quite labor intensive, students know how each material interrelates with another, and how it responds to the child’s Sensitive Periods. The training helps the trainee see the importance of each material, so that we avoid the "Cookbook" method of teaching, where we pick and choose our favorite recipes (materials).

Dr. Montessori recognized the importance of the prepared environment. This preparation includes the adult. In her writings, you will find information about the "conversion" of the adult; the necessary transformation to be spiritually prepared so as not to be an obstacle to the child’s development. In an AMI course, this is delicately nurtured. This only can occur in a course that has intimate, direct contact with its students. Although AMI courses are long (either full-time nine months or three summers), the duration ensures careful guidance of the adult who is "becoming a Montessorian."

The AMI Diploma is recognized internationally. No matter what credential a school has, it is eager to hire a person trained by this organization. This is because of how thorough and comprehensive the training is, with the longest hours and greatest requirements for completion. It is considered graduate level work. A Bachelor’s degree is required for the Primary course, Elementary course, and preferred for the Assistants to Infancy course, due to the level of knowledge expected of the adult prepared to work with the child.

Following are graduates' testimonies to the value of AMI training:

"When the school where I worked decided to expand the preschool program, Joen Bettmann was hired as a consultant. I worked with her for several years to improve the quality of the school programming as well as refined my own ability to observe and support the work of the children. She encouraged me to take the A.M.I. training when my own questions become deeper, which reflected my desire for more theory.
    In the fall of 2000 I began the academic year training course. I was nervous about re-taking the training and being older than the traditional student. I found that the traditional student in Montessori training was of all ages; I was not the oldest in the course, nor was I the only one taking training after having completed another training course. The group of 14 quickly became a supportive community and (I hope) life-long friends. We shared customs of our own cultures (clothing, foods, languages, celebrations, religions etc.), partied, and, above all, helped each other with the daily challenges of intensive study. Together we studied the philosophy and pedagogy of Maria Montessori in depth, analyzed lessons and perfected our albums. This went far beyond what I had encountered with my previous (non-AMI) training which had focused on the ‘how-to’ rather than the philosophy or the ‘why’. The theoretical background was skimpy; I simply didn’t understand the reasons for a lot of behavior I observed and why some lessons never seemed to ‘work’.
    I am often asked why I took another training and if it was time wasted. I can only say that it was worth every minute. The challenges of study and observation provided a much greater understanding of why children act as they do, how to help a child and create an environment that calls to each child who enters the door. The experience of making materials, observing in classrooms, and preparing for exams were part of the total immersion in Montessori. Today I am back in a classroom and for the first time in fifteen years I am confident that I am prepared."
—Mary-Sibyl Kress, a Montessori parent with former training, decided to take the AMI-accredited course and now works in an AMI school.

Cylinder Block"I believe that AMI is unique in its balance between time spent considering the philosophy, practicing with the materials, and student teaching. The AMI training provides thorough exposure to the theory and practice of Dr. Montessori's vision for education. For example, the albums written during training are a valuable exercise in processing what the trainee has heard in lecture, observed in presentation with the materials, and learned in practicing with the materials. In order to graduate from an AMI training course, the student must achieve a set standard with this written work, the process of which fine tunes the trainee's power of observation and attention to detail."
—Venus Gaffney Zaron attended a Montessori school as a child. Her mother, Patricia Oriti (also AMI trained), was one of her teachers. In addition to Primary training, Venus has recently completed the AMI Assistants to Infancy course.

"I had taken Montessori training directly out of college and chose my training quickly based on convenience and location. During my course I had some doubts because we had a different lecturer for practical life, sensorial, language, math and "the rest" which was largely grouped into language. The internal cohesion and consistency of approach was not readily apparent.
    "As I entered the field and worked in Casas for seven years I felt inadequate in some areas, particularly how to challenge and involve the extended day or older children. The more conferences I attended the more I learned about theory and practice; much was new to me. When I had an opportunity 20 years later to take training again [AMI training], I jumped at the chance to compare and contrast.
    "There were three salient differences. I had one trainer, with whom I developed a relationship of mutual respect and lifetime admiration. Secondly, the purpose of each material and presentation was crystal clear. For the first time I understood why I did what I did and what the child was to gain from each passage. Thirdly, I was taken to new and previously unknown realms in math, language, and cultural presentations that would challenge older children well beyond their time in Children's House. I was given so much more, but in some ways I had less. My albums were shorter, presentations were to the point, and there was a reason for each progression.
    "Less was definitely more in my second training."
—Barbara Kahn graduated in 1990. She has used her training in a number of capacities including Parent Involvement and Admissions Director at Ruffing Montessori School, helping in the NAMTA office, and presently working at the Hershey Farm School.