Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. I’m interested in Montessori Training - Why AMI?
A. Firstly, as a little background information - the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), was founded in 1929 by Dr Maria Montessori. It is a global movement which continues today to uphold, propagate and further the pedagogical principles and practice formulated by Dr. Maria Montessori for the full development of the human being. Visit ami-global.org to read about the extensive work of AMI.
A Guarantee of Quality
The Association Montessori Internationale affiliates training centres throughout the world. These centres offer AMI diploma courses which are recognised worldwide for their high quality, rigour and authenticity. Training centres affiliated to AMI remain under the constant supervision of AMI, are staffed by AMI Teacher Trainers and each course is examined by an external examiner appointed by AMI.
Q. How will AMI Training help my career?
Q. Why does an AMI course cost this much?
A. Essentially, it comes down to the quality and content of the product. Let’s look at the individual components of the courses in relation to the overall cost: -
Staffing – AMI sets a very high standard for its trainers. AMI trainers have extensive teaching experience and have participated in a rigorous Training of Trainers Program and possess in-depth knowledge and understanding of Montessori principles and applications. Guest lecturers are also utilized for their specialist knowledge.
The Training Environment – a methodology based on sensorial exploration requires a fully prepared 3-6 environment to be established at the training site. A full complement of pristine Montessori materials and related equipment is maintained and available for practical demonstrations and subsequent student practice.
Course content - the ‘hands on’ pedagogical approach to child development is delivered by face to face delivery. This includes at least 400 hours of classroom-based training including lectures, a minimum of 140 hours of supervised practice with Montessori materials and 170 hours of observation and teaching practicum in Montessori settings (in New Zealand a minimum of 10 weeks). Theory discussions, reading seminars, peer evaluations, material making and observation techniques are part of the course content.
Additional Costs - there are additional expenses including renting premises, contributions to the AMI international body, NZQA/Ministry of Education/Accounting/Legal requirements and much more!
As a wise AMI graduate recently said,
“the cost to each student should be considered as an investment over a 20+ year life span, as the content and quality of learning will be useful for the entire career. There are aspects of the course that are unattainable elsewhere, as well as the relationships gained on the course. The course material, information and guided learning is one of the best investments you can make in a teaching career, as the comfort of knowing how to create the best possible Montessori environment suitable for young children, and the ability to explain this to parents, is invaluable. Imagine a career where you are a valued asset and your pedagogy is supported by 22,000 other institutions. It is also known that teachers with an AMI qualification can pretty much guarantee employment, as this is regarded as a rigorous and strong Montessori training around the world”.
Q: Are the MMEF AMI courses only offered in Auckland?
A: Although the Diploma Courses have been offered only in Auckland to date, MMEF have offered Assistant Certificate Courses in various locations from Dunedin to Auckland over the past 10 years. To date, stakeholders including schools and students have been higher from the Auckland area thus Auckland remains our location of choice currently.
Q: Can I get a student loan for the AMI Diploma course?
A: MMEF are unable to access the student loan facility presently, however many high street banks are amenable to communicating with prospective students about Tertiary Loans. Previous students have been creative with their loan opportunities – seeking loans from; Montessori centres, church groups, family or via community support.
Q. My centre would like to sponsor me, for how long after training is it reasonable to stay?
A: This is pleasing to hear on both fronts! Firstly, the centre’s commitment to support staff training and the staff member's commitment to the school thereafter.
For Montessori centres to strengthen and develop, school owners are increasingly appreciating that one of the most important elements of any centre is the staff e.g. ensuring that staff are fully prepared to carry out their role with the age group of children in their care. For Montessori centres and schools to maintain their unique philosophy, an investment for Montessori training needs to be factored into the governance and management of the centre. Regarding commitment to centres and schools after training – an average period seems to be between 3 and 5 years following completion of the course.
Q. One of my teachers would like to study for the AMI Diploma, how long after training should I ‘expect’ them to stay at the centre?
A: Each situation and centre’s approach to training support is unique hence all negotiations should be amicably agreed between the prospective student (staff member) and management of the centre.
Of course, there is an element of disruption when a staff member is away for any period. However, we urge centres to consider the benefits of having someone in training in their environment. For example, students return from the modules with fresh ideas for all to reflect and discuss. Students in training also help to keep the centre’s pedagogy alive and current – this has been invaluable based on the feedback we’ve received from schools sponsoring staff in the past.
Another angle to consider – even if graduates stay for just 3 years after their training, the centre has benefited from the consistency of a staff member staying for a 3 year cycle of children.
Q: Why do AMI course fees seem so high?
A: The course fees are comparable to those in parts of Asia, Europe and Australia. While MMEF have done everything possible to reduce costs for students and centres, the fees are determined by the cost of the experienced trainer(s) and examiners, the rental of premises, to meet all NZQA requirements and to furnish and equip a complete training environment and practice classroom. This is the cost of quality.
Q. Why Choose AMI?
A: It's been said many times, but it's worth repeating -
The AMI Diploma really is your passport to the world! Look at the jobs advertised on the International Montessori websites, and you see this again and again - that the AMI Diploma is a ticket for overseas experiences you will never be forgotten. (We hope you’ll stay and strengthen the Montessori community of Aotearoa first and return ‘home’ after your OE experiences!)
Q. Can I gain employment with a AMI 3-6 Diploma?
A: Many schools require staff to have a B.Tchg. or equivalent – this links centres to a higher rate of funding. Currently with the 50% of centre staff requiring to be hold a qulification that is recognised by the Education Council (education.govt.nz), schools can employ an AMI trained teacher and indeed several do to ensure that the Montessori principles are embedded in the centre’s practices and procedures.
Q. Does the AMI 3-6 Diploma Level 7 equate to a B.Tchg. (ECE)?
A: No, and the two most obvious reasons are:
- The Level 7 AMI 3-6 Diploma is a 125 credit qualification whereas a Bachelor of Education (ECE) is a 360 credit qualification. Therefore, the 2 qualifications are not equivalent in NZQA credit value.
- The AMI 3-6 Diploma is a Montessori specific qualification following the Montessori principles and approach to child development. The outcomes of the course meet some of the Teacher Registration Standards.
The B.Ed. (ECE) is a generic qualification encompassing a range of philosophies, theories and approaches to early childhood education which collectively meet all of the Teacher Registration Standards.
Q. I'm working with older children - how could the 0-3 Diploma course be beneficial for me?
A: The 0-3 AMI diploma is not only about working with children under three (and their parents/caregivers).
Much of the theory work is spent examining the development of the human personality, how we can work towards optimal development and how we can help when things have gone wrong. I personally have found that the knowledge I gained on the diploma has assisted me most through examining my own behaviour, communication, habits, responses and attitudes in life. The solid foundation of understanding the development of the human being that you gain through this study will greatly benefit any work you do with human beings no matter their age.