How to Become a Montessori Teacher

Montessori Teacher Guide

Maria Montessori is an Italian educator, physician, and innovator, famous for the revolutionary education method. The Montessori teacher approach builds on a child’s natural curiosity and inclination to explore through risky play, while children are given space, and resources to learn at their own pace, and in ways that are less restrictive, and more natural. 

“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

― Maria Montessori

Animals and their homes montessori nature sort matching free printables sign up

At Montessori Nature, we know that the Montessori teacher gives students confidence and a feeling of self-reliance, which in turn helps them expand their potential. 

What Does a Montessori Teacher Do? 

Based on experience working in a 3-6 classroom, the definition of a Montessori teacher can vary.

  • A great portion of Montessori training is learning how to present and utilize Montessori materials. This is one thing that Montessorians go nuts about. Thorough intimate knowledge of every single piece of Montessori material, its purpose, and its presentation makes a teacher. It is the biggest part of the whole process.
  • A Montessori teacher functions mainly as a guide and an observer of the behavior and progress of the students. 
  • Montessori teachers create a learning environment and allow students to self-educate. 
  • By creating the right environment the teacher gives the students a chance to take part in freely chosen activities. This ensures long periods of concentration and helps children learn with ease and with pleasure. 
  • Given freedom, students are prone to prosper and build healthy relationships within their small society (the classroom). 

“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.”

― Maria Montessori

The Decalogue of Dr. Maria Montessori

Get the printable here:

How Does a Montessori Teacher Observe?

The Montessori teacher has two main roles: to observe and to guide. 

“The teacher must derive not only the capacity but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon. “

― Maria Montessori

He/she supports students while they make decisions and engage in various activities. Teachers who practice the Montessori method let children face mistakes and help them learn from them. Sometimes the Montessori educators intervene in the process, especially if a child is at the brink of harm. 

Mistakes Montessori Newbies Need To Avoid 

Huge emphasis is placed on body positioning towards the children and how clear and precise speech and language are.

This allows children to become their own person and builds up their confidence.

Responsibilities of Montessori teachers 

  • Apply lesson plans, with both singular and group learning activities in mind;
  • Define a positive role model for students;
  • Build trusting relationships based on honesty and compassion;
  • Maintain a safe, clean classroom;
  • Analyzing student progress through observation;
  • Keep the classroom equipped with necessary supplies;
  • Make sure all materials are in good condition;
  • Meet with parents often to evaluate student progress.

Behaviour Management Advice from a Montessori Mama

What is the Role of a Montessori Educator?

The role builds around the preparation of learning materials tailored to the needs and interests of students. A huge part of it is to make the environment beautiful and eye-pleasing with realistic images and no-nonsense. Everything has to be as close to reality as possible.

Every teacher has to have the albums that she writes while doing training. Each material has a very specific lesson structure, language, etc. The Montessori teacher has to follow the sequence of presentations and present materials guiding students to the next activity. Children are not allowed to touch materials on the shelves they have not been given a lesson on.

“We recommend for the training of teachers not only a considerable artistic education in general but special attention to the art of reading.”

― Maria Montessori

How to Teach Sequencing Skills to Children Plus a Free Printable

Sequencing Cards for Teaching Sequencing Skills

Being a guide and facilitator, the Montessori educator has to create a learning-friendly environment and atmosphere to aid youngsters advance from one activity and level to the next. 

One of the most distinguished differences between Montessori teachers and traditional educators is that practitioners of the Montessori method aren’t the center of attention in the classroom. 

A Montessori teacher takes a step back and lets students work on their own, thus teaching responsibility and discipline. 

Role of The Teacher in Montessori using Play

What is the difference between play and work? 

Parents of first encounters with Montessori always ask. The answer is simple! In the classroom,  Montessori educators use the term “work” to build respect and show that things are getting serious, so to speak. In a primary classroom (3-6 years of age), the students are in charge of their day.

Children can move from one activity to the next without being interrupted, thus are free to follow their internal drive to explore and learn. 

This method is what Maria Montessori called “auto-education”. 

This way each classmate has the specific education they need and it allows each teacher the ability to observe each child and his growth.

A to Z Emotions and Feelings – ABC Cards

Emotions and Feelings – Printable Activities

Role of the Teacher in Montessori Using Theory

The Montessori teacher must be fluent in many school subjects (history, math skills, first and/or foreign language, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, practical life works, etc). He/she must be able to present and convey knowledge in a creative and simple-to-understand way. 

The lessons within the Montessori method are straight to the point, easy-to-grasp, and inspiration-spark curiosity in students. 

In the classroom, the Montessori educator provides the learning materials and gives terse instructions. During lessons, the educator intertwines basic know-how and lets youngsters do their own work.. 

What is the Montessori Triangle?

The Montessori methodology is often portrayed as a triangle linking:

  • The child; 
  • The teacher;
  • The environment.

The Child

Maria Montessori firmly believed that children’s greatest teacher is within themselves. Her teaching revolves around the natural curiosity that drives children to learn and progress. 

The Environment

For this to happen, students require a specially prepared environment that offers the right stage for learning through trial and error.

The Montessori environment is children-sized, properly ordered, and interesting. It also nourishes activities that help children’s physical development and mental construction.

The Montessori Teacher

One of the main roles of the Montessori educator is to create and maintain the environment. Read on to the section where we dwell further on this, but generally, the Montessori educator observes each child daily to discover his needs and aids the student feel comfortable in the school environment through various activities. 

After that, he/she steps back to allow a child to explore and self-educate.

Requirements, Qualifications, and Education to Become a Montessori Teacher

All Montessori educators must undergo specific training to understand this non-traditional schooling method. 

There are a few institutions that offer Montessori teaching diplomas, but the most esteemed are those accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which also offers training.

AMI training centers offer courses that continue from September to May, which allows the student to graduate with a diploma in one year of full-time work. There are also summer courses available that include interim work and take 2-4 summers to finish.

Each training center has its own application process, but most require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree, although some exceptions are made. In AMI-accredited programs, people study the Montessori method, child development, and psychology for four age groups: Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Primary (3-6), Elementary (6-12), Adolescent (12-18).

A Guide to Montessori Curriculum and Online Resources

Here is a list of recommended/approved training centers that certify Montessori teachers:

What Skills Should You Possess to Become a Good Montessori Teacher?

You have to be a complex and enthusiastic person in order to become a good Montessori teacher. Parents look for specific characteristics in Montessori teachers when on the look for the ideal Montessori center. You must possess the following qualities if you want to earn trust and become an extraordinary teacher:

  • Be passionate about alternative education;
  • Teach with the preparation of the “spirit” in mind.
  • Be able to teach groups of children of varying ages, needs, and abilities;
  • Have patience and excellent observational, communication, and diagnostic skills;
  • Be able to multitask, stay calm under pressure, and treat everyone with love and understanding;
  • Have excellent planning and organizational skills;
  • Be creative and adaptive.

Quotes by Maria Montessori

“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” 

“The fundamental help in development, especially with little children of 3 years of age, is not to interfere. Interference stops activity and stops concentration.”

The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’ 

“She [the Montessori teacher] must acquire a moral alertness which has not hitherto been demanded by any other system, and this is revealed in her tranquility, patience, charity, and humility. Not words, but virtues, are her main qualifications.”

“The teacher has two tasks: to lead the children to concentration and to help them in their development afterward.”

“The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.”

“An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices.”

“The instructions of the teacher consist then merely in a hint, a touch—enough to give a start to the child. The rest develops of itself.”

“Here is an essential principle of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge.”

“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”

“We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.”

Read more Quotes of Maria Montessori | Inspiration for Teachers and Parents. See our top picks of Montessori inspirational videos, too! 

Becoming a Montessori educator is a transformational process that never ceases to stop as the process is governed by the child himself. With every new classroom and every new student, the teacher will be challenged yet once again to keep referring back to what Maria Montessori taught us about the child, his development, and education.

It is the depth of every statement, the universal approach, and the desire to see every human be afforded the same respect and cultivate an appreciation for culture, self-expression, peace, freedom, and independence that often drive people to Montessori.

Becoming a Montessori educator often becomes a first step towards becoming that force that brings change we desire to see happening in our society.

learning resources you might find helpful in your classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.