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Brief History Of AMI Training

Dr. Maria Montessori opened the first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) in San Lorenzo in 1907. The 'discovery of the child' that took place amidst this group of young children attracted attention from around the world. The demand for Montessori teacher training soon followed and in 1909 Dr. Montessori conducted the first training course for teachers. The course was offered annually and was attended mainly by Italian teachers. In 1912, with the translation into English of Dr. Montessori's book, "The Montessori Method" (later renamed "The Discovery of the Child") international interest in her approach grew rapidly. In 1913 the first international course was held in Rome. It was attended by eighty students mostly from America but included some from Australia.

In 1919 Dr. Montessori held her first training course in England. The Daily News reported at the time: "That famous woman pioneer in children's education, Dr. Maria Montessori arrived in London … to give a training course - her first in this country - to British teachers. The course is limited to an attendance of 250 persons, but over two thousand applications have been made." Subsequently Dr. Montessori went every second year to London to hold similar courses. From 1920 to 1930 she also gave courses in Austria, Germany, Holland and Italy.

In 1929 Dr. Montessori created the Association Montessori Internationale to give structure to her work, and to ensure that it would be perpetuated after her death in accordance with her pedagogical and psychological principles.

The movement continued to grow throughout the world with courses being offered throughout Europe in the 1930's. In 1939 the inaugural training course was held in India to be followed by several more over the next decade. Following the partition of India and Pakistan Dr Montessori returned to Europe having participated in the first course given in Karachi, Pakistan in 1949. After Dr. Montessori's death in 1952, the Association Montessori Internationale, under the direction of her son Mario Montessori, worked to establish permanent training centres around the world. A comprehensive program for the training of teacher trainers was also established. Today there are AMI training centres preparing adults to work with children at three levels: Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Casa dei Bambini (3-6) and Elementary (6-12).

These centres offer AMI diploma courses that are internationally recognised for their high standard and authenticity. Training centres accredited by AMI remain under the constant supervision of AMI, are staffed by AMI Teacher Trainers and each course has an external examiner appointed by AMI.

The training is essentially the same in each centre. Courses are full-time and are offered over an academic year or several summers. The programme includes lectures and seminars on Montessori philosophy, child development and demonstrations with the Montessori materials. Students prepare albums that detail the purpose, use and presentation of each piece of material and the theory supporting the practical application. Each course includes significant components of supervised practice with the materials, material making, observation and practice teaching. Students find that Montessori teacher training is also a process of personal re-orientation as they begin to understand for themselves the profound truths underlying the Montessori approach.