Practicum Information



Practicum Models and Time Periods for Infant and Toddler (top)

[Specific age-based models for IT and EC are outlined separately below]

The student-teaching practicum (or internship) is defined as lasting a minimum of 540 hours completed over a full academic year, with the adult learner working at the practicum site, in the classroom of an approved supervising teacher, five days a week for nine consecutive months. Alternative scheduling is possible with the approval of the NMI Program Director.

Since the purpose of the practicum is to offer the adult learner the opportunity for practice with the information and insights acquired during academic phase, at least 90% of the academic contact hours for the level (not including assessment) must be completed prior to the end of the practicum experience. No part of the practicum may precede the beginning of the academic phase of the course.

[Early Childhood: In the case of an extended academic phase beyond the initial year, adult Learners may begin the practicum phase during the first year of course work allowing the practicum phase to span a two‐year academic cycle, so that 90 percent of the core-curriculum Instruction is completed prior to the end of the practicum.]

Over the course of the practicum, the adult learner is required to follow the development of the children in the assigned class and establish relationships with the children. The adult learner must present activities/materials and participate in the various aspects of planning, record keeping, classroom management, and parent communication.
Only adult learners receiving acceptable evaluation status for the summer academic phase may enter the Practicum Phase. Acceptable evaluation status is based on attendance, class participation and accepted written assignments.

The Supervised Practicum Option:

The supervised practicum requires that the adult learner participate five days a week for a full academic year, in a classroom under the daily supervision of a certified Montessori teacher at an approved school site. The adult learner may not be asked to assume total responsibility for a class without the presence of a supervising teacher or other qualified staff person. A minimum of three (3) on-site consultations/evaluation visits by a Field Consultant are included with the cost of tuition. To best support the growth of the adult learner, the consultations/evaluation visits must be spread throughout the practicum phase. (*see note below).

The Self-Directed Practicum Option:

In special cases, when approved, the adult learner may work in a self-directed internship. The requirements are the same as above, except that the adult learner has full responsibility for the class without the daily guidance of a qualified Montessori teacher. In the case of a self-directed internship, the adult learner shall receive the minimum three (3) on-site consultations by a Field Consultant to insure the adult learner is progressing appropriately, along with further support to be documented on the AMS Practicum Site Form. Additional support might include extra visits, a local mentor teacher, monthly phone or e-mail contact, or other support designed by the program director.* To best support the growth of the adult learner, the consultations/evaluation visits must be spread throughout the practicum phase.

Adult learners may qualify for the Self-Directed Practicum with one of the following prerequisites:

1. Prior experience as an Assistant in a Montessori environment.
2. Two or more years of previous teaching experience at the appropriate age level.
3. Written approval of the teacher education program director.
4. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or its equivalent.


Practicum Models Based on Age for the Infant and Toddler Level (top)

There are three practicum models at the Infant and Toddler level. The course director and the practicum supervisor have the responsibility of determining the appropriate model selection for the adult learner.

Model 1: Infant Concentration (Birth to 18 Months)

The Model 1 practicum provides a period of concentration for the adult learner whose primary interest is the care and development of infants. This model requires the adult learner to participate in all facets of infant care and development, as well as parent education and administrative procedures, for a minimum of 540 hours completed over a nine-month period in a Montessori infant environment. [The Infant class should contain children in the full span of ages birth to 18 months.]

Model 2: Toddler Concentration (18 Months to 3 Years)

The Model 2 practicum provides a period of concentration for the adult learner whose primary interest is the care and development of toddlers. The adult learner is required to work for a minimum of 540 hours over a nine-month period in a Montessori toddler environment. [The Toddler class should contain children in the full span of ages 18 months to 3 years.]

Model 3: Infant and Toddler (Birth to 3 years)

The Model 3 practicum provides a period of concentration for the adult learner whose primary interest is the care and development of Infants and toddlers. The adult learner is required to work for a minimum of 540 hours over a nine-month period in a birth to three environment.

For each Infant and Toddler model listed above, a minimum of three on-site consultation/evaluation visits by a qualified field consultant is required.



Practicum Model Based on Age for the Early Childhood Level (top)

The class may contain children in the 2½ through 6 age span, but must contain the 3 through 6 age span to allow the adult learner to follow the developmental stages of children in an environment which is prepared to meet their social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs, and one which is equipped with the full complement of Montessori materials.

AMS recognizes that in some situations there may be environments that do not have the 2½ through 6 age range. Therefore it is the responsibility of the program director to outline a plan in the adult learner’s file and to document how the adult learner receives the experience in the full 2½ through 6 age range.

Please Note:

Adult learners may be charged an additional fee to cover reasonable transportation expenses incurred for intern visits should the internship site be located more than 150 miles from the summer training site.

*The additional support required with the Self-Directed Practicum Model may be arranged through the Institute or independently with a qualified individual, with the approval of the program director. An additional fee of four hundred fifty dollars ($450.00), payable to the Institute, shall be due at the beginning of the practicum phase should the adult learner wish to arrange this additional support through the Institute.

Source: Revised and Adopted from the AMS Handbook for Teacher Education Program Affiliation (July 2015) / NMI January 2017



Standards and Responsibilities for the Supervising Teacher (top)

Required by The American Montessori Society (AMS) and/or NMI



The supervising teacher must hold a recognized Montessori credential at the age level of the class at the level of supervision. The supervising teacher cannot be the adult learner’s field consultant.


The supervising teacher must be in at least the second year of teaching at the level of instruction after receipt of the Montessori credential.


The director of the teacher education program must approve the supervising teacher.


A. Completes and Signs the Practicum Site Agreement.

B. Reads and accepts the responsibilities outlined in this job description.

C. Provides a copy of Early Childhood Montessori certificate.

D. In consultation with the Intern, writes a mid-year and end of year evaluation.

E. Provides paperwork in a timely manner.

F. Early Childhood only: Writes an evaluation on the Intern’s original materials for Practical Life (2), Sensorial (1), Language (1) and Math (1).


A. The supervising teacher is responsible for providing experiences relating to the following areas:

1. Preparation and Management: indoor and outdoor environments
2. Observation and Recording: observing, responding /planning, assessing; maintaining records
3. Interaction: relations among parents, staff, and children
4. Instruction: designing activities; individual and group presentations
5. Management: individual and group strategies
6. Parent/Community Involvement: family support and community services; parent education, interviews, conferences, and meetings; open house
7. Staff Involvement: participation in meetings, establishing team compatibility and problem-solving techniques
8. Assists the Adult Learner with materials practice to insure consistency of material presentations in the classroom.
9. Demonstrates and discusses with the Intern own individual style as a Montessori teacher.
10. Works with Adult Learner to determine and develop Intern’s strengths and challenges.
11. Provides Adult Learner with opportunities for involvement in most aspects of a teacher’s role.
12. Provides Adult Learner opportunity to observe on a daily basis for a minimum of ten minutes.
13. Assists Adult Learner with development and preparation of a Year-long Cultural Project in accordance with seminar course schedule.
14. Signs off on Adult Learner’s log of classroom hours on a weekly basis.


The supervising teacher must schedule regular review sessions with the adult learner at least once per month to assess progress in the above areas.


The supervising teacher must complete and submit all evaluation forms requested by the teacher education program at the designated times.


The supervising teacher must inform the teacher education program of any difficulties in the professional performance of the adult learner.


With the exception of a self-directed practicum, the supervising teacher must be in the adult learner’s classroom full time.


A supervising teacher cannot have more than two adult learners per classroom.



Standards and Responsibilities for the Practicum Site (top)

Required by The American Montessori Society (AMS) and/or NMI

An Adult Learner must begin his/her practicum phase within two years of the end of his/her academic phase.


It is recommended that the practicum site is an AMS member school. Programs report practicum sites annually to AMS using the AMS Adult Learner Registration and Practicum Report Form. The AMS office will send non-AMS member practicum sites information on the benefits of becoming an AMS member school.


The school site must have a written non-discrimination policy for children and staff.

3. LICENSING: The site must meet all local and state regulations.


The site must communicate to the adult learner and the teacher education program in writing, its administrative policies and guidelines relating to the adult learner.


The site must provide a job description and a contract of agreement acceptable to the site, the adult learner, and the teacher education program. This job description or agreement should include the nature and type of remuneration given the adult learner, if any.


The school must agree to cooperate with the course in all matters relating to the practicum.


Adult learners in their practicum phase cannot be asked to provide service to the school other than that which would be found as the responsibility listed in the job description of any teacher/administrator during their practicum hours (i.e. janitorial services, before or after day care services, etc.). Adult learners may provide additional services outside their practicum hours if agreed upon by both parties.


• Infant and Toddler:

– Birth to 3 years of age (depends on model selected)

• Early Childhood:

– The class should contain children in the full 2 ½ through 6 age span. If class does not have the full age range, the program director, together with the school and/or intern, must provide in writing how the adult learner will acquire experience with all age groups during the nine-month experience.


The environment must be designed and equipped to meet the developmental needs of the children served. The classroom must include child-sized furnishings and a full array of recommended Montessori materials for the age range of the class, arranged on open shelves accessible to all children, so that the adult learner may implement the curriculum for the age group presented by the teacher education program during the academic phase. AMS recommended materials lists for schools are available on the AMS website.


Supervision of adult learners is provided by the supervising teacher and a field consultant or, in the case of a self-directed practicum, through the field consultant. For a self-directed practicum, a minimum of three on-site consultation visits by a field consultant plus additional support that is documented on the AMS Credential Recommendation Form is required.

• For all course levels (with the exception of the Administrator course); supervision must be provided according to one of two options:
– In the classroom with an approved supervising teacher
– In a self-directed classroom with regular supervision by a qualified and approved field consultant.


a. A single person serves as the field consultant for all adult learners; with the exception that the field consultant cannot be the adult learner’s supervising teacher.

b. Different individuals serve as field consultants for the program and are assigned to one or more adult learners generally determined by geographical proximity (this could result in all adult learners having different field consultants).

c. Other models are possible, as long as the field consultant qualifications are verified by the program director.