This qualification provides recognition of a training course for those wishing to work with, or (later) be in charge of nurseries for, children in the age-range 6-9 years. The course follows the traditional Montessori pedagogy, being based on the Great Lessons with Key Lessons, but it is also designed to meet the requirements of the UK Government National Curriculum key stage 1.

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This qualification was formerly listed by the UK Department of Education as being a full and relevant qualification for the ages up to 8 years, and was the only Montessori course approved for this listing.   However the foundation stage was later re-defined as being only up to 6 years and the course is no longer listed.   It is being submitted to Ofqual for approval in the very near future.

This qualification meets all the criteria promulgated by Montessori Europe in the Declaration of Gothenburg (see their website for details.)

This qualification is not separately accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), an international body based in the U.S.A., as they only accredit programs i.e. qualification courses embedded in a teaching Centre.   However, in an appropriate context, it meets the relevant criteria.

Entry Qualifications

Candidates who are aged 18-21 years normally require two ‘A’ levels or equivalent (e.g. International Baccalaureate or GNVQ 3). Students without these may be accepted by Centres, subject to their being able to demonstrate (via written work and interview) that they could cope successfully with the work. A good school reference is then required and, preferably, evidence of satisfactory work experience with children.

Mature students are accepted on the basis of their personal qualities and experience. No specific examination passes are required, but an appropriate ability with the English language (i.e. to at least level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) and preferably level B2) must be demonstrated.  Centres are encouraged to arrange police checks on candidates where these are available, but in any case to take reasonable step to ensure all applicants are suitable persons to be in charge of young children.

Successful attainment of an approved Montessori diploma for the ages 3-6 would normally be expected, but satisfactory completion of a short course introducing the early years curriculum may be accepted in lieu of a full qualification.  Alternatively an additional module outlining the main aspects of the early years provision (which i an essential basis for later study) may be taken, at a small additional fee.


The qualification covers the same ground as the internationally famous Bergamo course but the syllabus is designed to relate to the U.K. national curriculum Key stage 1, although some topics go beyond this, in accordance with the traditional Montessori mode.  The following topics are included:

The Great Lessons – Background to the five Great Lessons; why they are central to the Montessori approach; detailed instructions on their preparation and use; mapping the National Curriculum for History.

Advanced Life Skills – Explanation of their role in the classroom; ground rules; manual dexterity, design & construction; care of self, health & hygiene; care of the environment; grace, courtesy & citizenship; Peace Education; mapping the national Curriculum for Design & Technology; mapping the National Curriculum for Personal, Social and Health Education, and Citizenship .

Mathematics 1 – Number – Developing the child’s facility with numbers and basic operations; more advanced methods of calculation; fractions.

The Child, the Environment and the Teacher – Child development 6-9 years; changes as the child moves into the second plane of development; structuring a Montessori classroom; the new role of the teacher.

English Language 1 – Consolidation of reading skills; cursive writing; the use of grammar symbols and command cards.

Science 1 – Life Sciences – The ‘sixth’ Great Lesson; basic physiology; classification; habitats; life-cycles.

Creative Work – Creativity in the Montessori philosophy; art appreciation; drawing skills; creative wrtiting; drama activities; developing musicality; lives of great composers and their music; mapping to the National Curriculum for Music; mapping to the National Curriculum for Art and Design.

English Language 2 – Developing more advanced and fluent skills of understanding and expression; mapping the National Curriculum for English.

Mathematics 2 – Shape – Introduction to Geometry; developing the children’s understanding of shape and space; measurement; mapping the National Curriculum for Mathematics.

Science 2 – Earth Science – The structure of the Earth; geophysical forms; patterns of settlement; specific localities; mapping the National Curriculum for Geography

Science 3 – Physical Sciences – An introduction to scientific concepts; materials; forces and energy; space; mapping to the National Curriculum for Science.

Other Subjects – Using computers in the classroom; advantages & limitations; ‘Going Out’; balance, co-ordination and co-operation; introducing other languages; mapping to the National Curriculum for Information and Communication Technology; mapping to the National Curriculum for Physical Education; mapping to the National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages.

 Recommended Course Structure

To meet the criteria, students attend the Centre for face-to-face tuition for at least 100 hours (90% attendance is mandatory – or an extra examination paper must be taken in lieu).  There are various time structures possible – please contact your local Centre for details.  Also, 200 hours minimum are spent either working in a Montessori setting, or doing work experience in a Montessori nursery, which will be arranged (as far as possible) to be near the student’s home.

Award of the Diploma

The Diploma is awarded on satisfactory attendance (as above 90%) and completion of the course, which is assessed by:

  1. Written coursework, set throughout the course
  2. Detailed observations of children
  3. Making of assessed teaching materials
  4. An individual practical viva examination
  5. Satisfactory completion of the 200 hours practice teaching and file
  6. Visits to oversee the teaching practice
  7. Additional coursework, based on the practical experience

 Course Fees

Their is an initial registration fee of £175 payable to MAEL (through the teaching centre.)  Tuition fees are set by the individual teaching centres but the following fee levels are recommended:

One payment (before the course starts) of £3,800, OR

Five payments (at the start of each term, assuming the course is taught over 5 terms) of £820, OR

Eighteen payments (at one monthly intervals, starting on the 1st day of the course) of £253.







Date of last revision: 30/07/12