This qualification provides recognition of a training course for those wishing to work with, or (later) be in charge of, nurseries or environments for children in the age-range 0-3  years.  It is designed as a follow-up course to the Montessori Early Childhood Teaching Diploma.

 “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one…  for that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement is being formed; but not only his intelligence, the full totality of his psychic powers.”                                                                                                     Maria Montessori

“The First Years of Life” is an exciting new course covering the development of the child from conception to 3 years.   It is suitable for both parents and teachers.


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How is the course structured?

Parents and teachers will meet together for the first term, which provides a good introduction to all who are in contact with children in this age range.  Those wishing to obtain a full teaching qualification will continue for a further 2 terms, and complete a practical experience of 400 hours.

What will the course cover?

The introductory two modules will be followed by both parents and teachers will cover the following topics:

  • * development begins at conception, not birth – improving a baby’s chances in life through stimulation in the womb
  • * “the difficult adventure of birth” – how conditions at that time affect the child’s future
  • * the important of touch – including demonstrations of baby massage
  • * adapting the home to a baby/toddler – how to keep the child safe, without restricting freedom and independence
  • * do babies need toys – simple alternative activities for babies and toddlers which develop all the senses
  • * the importance of movement –  how to aid the child’s independence without restricting freedom plus simple movement activities for the home and nursery
  • * how to encourage language development
  • * discipline or self discipline – dealing with temper tantrums, crying etc.
  • * stimulating the child – too much or too little?
  • * crises of development

In the following two terms those wishing to obtain a teaching qualification will study the following:

  • * how to set up an environment for the 0 – 3 year old  outside the home – the Nido and Infant Community
  • * the role of “the Assistant to Infancy” and key-worker
  • * child development: conception – 3 years in detail – milestones at significant stages  – physical, intellectual, spiritual , emotional  (including attachment theory), social  –  theories of the major psychologists
  • * recent brain research
  • * practical and health issues – hygiene
  • * techniques of  observation, and implementation of observational evaluation
  • * managing a facility for 0 – 3 years olds – how to set up, policy writing etc
  • * activities/equipment for babies and toddlers in detail
  • * co-operating with parents

The modules for teachers will cover the National Occupational Standards from Level 3, which are required by Ofsted in the UK, plus level 4 management modules.

How is the course taught?

The tutor in charge will act as a facilitator.   After the first evening, the parents and prospective teachers will be given material to read and prepare – they will be required to research the topics.   Access to the internet is advantageous but not essential.   Discussion, case studies, and videos will be used.

How is the course assessed?

Parents Course – parents who wish to obtain a certificate of satisfactory course completion will need to achieve 90% attendance, plus make some simple materials for use with babies or toddlers

Teachers’ Course – teachers need to achieve 90% attendance, plus make teaching materials, provide evidence of observation of different age groups, and evidence of specific competencies.   There are no final written examinations.

Do I need any previous qualifications?

No – every applicant will be interviewed individually.   If prospective students for the teaching course lack certain skills, the Centre will advise on how these can be gained before entry to the course.   Motivation is considered to be a vital asset.

What are the costs involved?

The costs are detailed on the separate fees leaflet, available from teaching Centres who offer the course.   Application forms will also be available from the Centre.




Date of last revision 26/02/2007