IMC Teacher Education
The IMC’s main focus in those early years, and still today, is creating an international Montessori organization that was open-minded and open-hearted. Our primary program was and continues to be, Montessori school accreditation.
In 2006, that mission expanded with the approval of the first IMC-affiliated Montessori Teacher Education Program, The Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS).
This new path was not chosen lightly. The IMC Board had the wisdom to recognize the need for Montessori teacher education to adapt to the technological and educational trends budding in the 21st century.
As a result, IMC and CGMS paved a path for hybrid Montessori teacher training that blends several elements:
1. Very high-quality online learning using recorded video courses taught by leading Montessori teacher educators
2. Cohorts of adult learners who work together, week by week, to go through a fully-developed and authentic course of study in Montessori philosophy, child development, the skill of observation, classroom leadership, preparation of the environment, the entire Montessori curriculum, and much more
3. Instructional Guides who work with the cohort during its entire course of study (typically lasting about 18 months), with both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous discussion, collaboration, and ongoing assessment of the adult learners mastery of the concepts and skills
4. A year of supervised student teaching (the practicum)
5. A low residency face-to-face training (usually about 2 1/2 weeks); a trend that is now finding acceptance in other Montessori organizations.
Continuing in the direction of innovation, the IMC Teacher Education Standards have been designed to encourage programs to find creative ways to meet the needs of learners without sacrificing the quality of course content.
The academic hours, for example, are significantly higher than required by the Montessori Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) or other organizations, but there is much more flexibility for the course delivery format. This means that the required hours can be met through a variety of meaningful learning activities, with a balance of on-campus, online, and independent study projects.
Montessori is about so much more than materials. For this reason, IMC requires all programs to have a plan for ongoing reflection and discussion of course topics. These discussions are part of the academic hours and can take place in person or virtually.
Helping adult learners grasp the significance of Montessori philosophy and how to support the development of children requires deep study. We can’t just leave this to chance. We need to guide adult learners through a process of discovery, and this requires time to read, reflect, and share. Modern technology provides many opportunities for ongoing contact, support, and meaningful dialog, through online discussion groups and video conferencing. These kinds of activities enrich the teacher education program and provide a higher level of support for the learner as they travel their Montessori path.
CGMS demonstrated a level of excellence that earned it, and the IMC as a whole, recognition for the quality of its programs and the level of support that it provides.
CGMS today is one of the largest teacher training programs, offering courses at every level from infant-toddler through secondary. A new Montessori school leadership program is now working with its third cohort.
Long-time IMC leader, Katherine (Kitty) Bravo, is the Education Director of CGMS. She works with an outstanding team of course directors and faculty. Kitty won MACTE’s Dennis Shapiro Award for Innovation in Montessori Teacher Education in 2020.
In 2019, our second Montessori teacher education program, the Vietnam Montessori Advisory and Training Center (VMAT) was approved as an IMC-affiliated Montessori teacher education program.
VMAT is a MACTE accredited teacher education program committed to supporting the development of Montessori in Vietnam. Approximately 25 – 60 adult learners participate annually in their Montessori Early Childhood Certification Program.
Long-time IMC member Jana Morgan Herman is the director of VMAT and works closely with VMAT founder and Executive Director, Pham Hoai Thu.
Two more programs are in the candidacy stage (2022), and several others are exploring possible affiliation.
IMC is ready to support teacher education programs in developing these strategies to better serve their learners and prepare the next generation of Montessori teachers in ways that make challenging Montessori teacher education more affordable and convenient to adult learners.
Whether a teacher education program is in its infancy and early development stages, or is an established independent program, or even affiliated with another organization, we hope you will look at what the IMC has to offer. The IMC is more than just another Montessori organization, we are a community with a network of passionate Montessorians always ready to offer friendship,
coaching, and support.
As an international organization, IMC can offer teacher education affiliates global recognition. Programs will be able to submit news and feature articles for Montessori Leadership magazine.
The newly developing teacher education section of the IMC website will list all affiliate teacher education programs with links to the TEP website. Every affiliate program will get a seat on the IMC Teacher Education Committee, where everyone’s input is welcome.
IMC is a strong supporter of MACTE. As such, all IMC teacher education affiliates must obtain MACTE accreditation.
The process of adding IMC as your affiliating organization is fairly simple. IMC standards match up closely with MACTE guidelines with only a few requirements needing special attention such as the additional academic hours, and additional years of experience required for instructors. We have also kept the IMC affiliation and adult learner fees low so that programs can afford to have an organization on their side.
Recognizing the increasing demand for well-prepared Montessori teachers worldwide, IMC is committed to supporting new and existing teacher education programs to expand their reach. As we grow with more teacher education affiliates, IMC plans to offer professional development instructor training opportunities for teacher educators. We look forward to growing and learning as a united Montessori community. We all get stronger when we work together. ′
For more information and a copy of the IMC TEP Standards and Guidelines for Affiliation, email Kitty Bravo, IMC Teacher Education Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.