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The adult in charge of these environments requires unique preparation. The traditional Montessori training is a full year of graduate work for each of the following three age levels, and stages of development, of children: Birth to three years; Three years to six years; Six years to twelve years. The Montessori middle and high school teacher ideally has taken all three training courses plus graduate work in an academic area or areas.

Out of a spirit of enthusiasm for following Dr. Montessori's ideas there is a wide variety of teacher preparation. Some, including our faculty, have taken intensive, post graduate courses, studying under experienced master teachers who have themselves undergone an exacting teacher-training certification program. These Montessori teacher-trainees have earned their certification by passing rigorous practical, written, and oral exams. Others have simply read one of Dr. Montessori's books and applied some of her ideas in a daycare environment. Between these two extremes there are many other examples and no official check on the use of the word "Montessori." Due to the wide variation of the preparation of adult there is a corresponding variety in the success and quality of schools.

Montessori education has worked all over the world, with all kinds of children (wealthy, poor, gifted, normal, learning and physically disabled) and environments (from refugee camps and slums, to elegant schools in beautiful private homes). It is not the richness of the environment that determines the success of the Montessori method, but the preparation of the teacher.

Dr. Montessori learned early in her work that the education of teachers who are able to kindle flames rather than just fill vessels is not so easy. The Montessori method is philosophically and practically different from other educational methods, and also very different from the personal educational experience of most adults who become Montessori teachers. The words "directress" or "guide" is sometimes used rather than "teacher" because of the different role of the adult in relating to the child - directing him to find the best way to learn from the environment rather than knowledge imposed by the adult.

Source: Montessori Organizations, Teacher-Training Courses, & Details of Montessori Teaching Methods, The International Montessori Index