Satellite Training to Support Local Development of AMI Training Programs and Communities
By Tim Nee and Courtney Reim
Access to quality Montessori schools for all children can only be achieved through access to quality Montessori teacher training across the globe. Dr. Montessori lived this reality by offering teacher training to groups of individuals interested in her teaching methods on three different continents from 1909 through 1951 (Association Montessori Internationale, n.d.). Building the Montessori teacher workforce at the local level is critical to bringing a Montessori education to children in a variety of worldwide communities. The Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE) was founded on that exact goal; locally trained teachers to lead public Montessori school classrooms in an urban center, Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America. MTCNE has since taken this inaugural mission to other locations by delivering certificate and diploma training courses at satellite training centers nationally and internationally.
For those unfamiliar with MTCNE’s founding, the AMI affiliated training center was founded as an organization within Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) during 2003 to meet the urgent need for qualified AMI trained teachers to guide public Montessori classrooms located within Hartford, CT and the heavily populated northeastern United States. The inaugural AMI training courses in Hartford were designed to meet the needs of working trainees. Still today, MTCNE training courses in Hartford are offered with the working adult in mind, while we also offer academic year options for students seeking to train full time or as part of an undergraduate degree. The solid foundation from which the Center was established in alignment with additional strategical planning has enabled MTCNE to expand its course offerings over time in Hartford as well as in satellite locations.
MTCNE began its satellite journey quite locally at a new charter school in New Haven, CT. While the location was only 45 minutes from the Center without traffic, the charter school administration wanted to offer training locally for persons taking on the rigor of an AMI Elementary Diploma Course in their community. This option removed the daily commute and made it possible for participants to spend that otherwise lost time caring for their families and in most cases be present at work in their school.
During the last decade, MTCNE has continued to expand its satellite offerings both nationally and internationally. The international expansion of satellite training centers was preceded by multiple experiences with international AMI affiliates in which MTCNE provided AMI trainer brokering services. These experiences helped MTCNE tremendously in understanding language, culture and economic differences in a variety of locations worldwide. As a brokering agency, MTCNE supplies an AMI DoT for fee to an international AMI affiliate desiring to do a course but unable to secure an AMI trainer. MTCNE has collaborated with the Montessori Institute of Morocco, the Montessori Institute in Cairo, the Higher School of the Montessori Method in St. Petersburg, and the Maria Montessori Institute in the United Kingdom, all AMI affiliates. These aforementioned initiatives in combination with MTCNE’s Training in Trainer Stipend Program and partnership with the University of Hartford, supported MTCNE’s poise to expand the satellite concept to a new international location that did not have an AMI country affiliate.
The first opportunity to develop a satellite-training center delivering AMI certificate and eventually diploma courses in Vietnam presented to MTCNE was a collaboration with AMI and the Center for International Education (CIE), at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) at Vietnam National University (VNU). To date, MTCNE in partnership with AMI and CIE USSH VNU has successfully delivered two 0-3 Montessori Orientations, three 3-6 Montessori Orientations, graduated the first 3-6 Diploma Course in December 2020 with the second 3-6 Diploma Course scheduled to graduate in April 2022. The training of locals is the foundation for building a vibrant AMI Montessori community.
Although it takes time to build the necessary network of AMI trained Montessorians in a country, with every training there are an increase in number of practicum sites available for teacher trainees, as well as album readers and course assistants in native languages to support the trainings. Additionally, students interested in becoming an AMI Director of Training can be identified. Local AMI trainers, delivering local AMI training, through a strong local AMI affiliate is MTCNE’s ultimate goal for international sites.
Through satellite initiatives and international partnerships, MTCNE is committed to the establishment of locally based training centers that are: 1) lead by native speaking and residing DoTs, and 2) connected to a strong institution that can assure sustainability once MTCNE withdraws from the location. MTCNE is currently working on a handful of international satellite training center initiatives in The Gambia with Teach for The Gambia, Da Nang, Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Madrid, Spain. In addition, MTCNE is working with multiple organizations stateside to offer satellite-training courses at The School House on Long Island, New York, within Kansas City Public Schools in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Cleveland, Ohio through the Montessori Development Partnership.
At times, the satellite is temporary and provides a one and done course in a local area to meet a stated need. Other times the satellite is a longer-term project to establish AMI training in a new country that may not yet have an AMI affiliate or training center. Whatever the initial purpose of the satellite, the process continues to contribute to the worldwide vision of having more communities access the Montessori pedagogy to provide quality education to more children and families. AMI satellites create stable and quality Montessori training, building the Montessori workforce so Montessori is truly available to all children!
Association Montessori Internationale. (n.d.). Timeline of Maria Montessori’s life. Retrieved July 13, 2021, from https://montessori-ami.org/resource-library/facts/timeline-maria-montessoris-life