Course I, the Independent Study, is done independently and prior to Course II. The student is assigned readings from Montessori and other Early Childhood Education books, and is required to write brief essays based on the topics from the readings. Some subjects covered are the developmental characteristics of children from two to six years old, the classroom environment, the role of the teacher, positive discipline and harmony in the classroom, the development of socialization, intelligence, imagination and creativity, the philosophies of child development theorists, the importance of the observation of children, and information about various learning disabilities.
Course II, the Academic Workshop, takes place in the summer, consisting of seven weeks of full day classes, Mondays through Fridays. During this course, the students learn how to set up and present materials in the areas of fine motor (Practical Life), activities using the five different senses (Sensorial), Math, Language, Art, Music, Geography, Science, as well as theme-related subjects, and how to conduct all classroom activities during a typical daily routine. In addition, there are lectures on Child Development, the Montessori philosophy, Classroom Management, social competence, environmental design, parent communication and conferences, record keeping, learning styles, and all the topics listed in Course I. During the Academic Workshop, curriculum manuals are compiled and organized, utilizing printouts and illustrations.
Course III, the Internship, is the third phase of the teacher education, in which the student is employed as a teacher assistant under the supervision of an experienced Montessori teacher during a nine-month school year. During the school year there are requirements of six observations of other schools, and the completion of a research project on a topic related to early childhood development or education. An instructor from the Training Center observes, evaluates, and advises the intern throughout the school year.
Course IV: At the end of the school year, if all requirements and assignments have been completed, the student is tested on philosophy, methods, and materials. Upon satisfactory grades, an AMS Montessori diploma for teaching ages 2.5 to 6 years is granted. To be hired as a head teacher, schools may require a college degree and/or state certification. Schools' requirements vary.
The entire certification process is usually completed in sixteen months. The time period may be extended to meet the student's needs or circumstances.