Only four years after West Side Montessori School (WSMS) was founded, the school administrators recognized a clear need for formalized training in Montessori early childhood education in the New York area. The Montessori approach was not widespread in the ’60s, although it had a strong and successful foothold in Europe. There were few places in the U.S. where credentialed early childhood teachers or individuals interested in early childhood education could learn the Montessori method.
Founded in 1967 as Central Harlem Association of Montessori Parents (CHAMP), the West Side Montessori School–Teacher Education Program (WSMS-TEP) is a program that prepares adults to become effective, responsive Montessori teachers capable of helping young children reach their full potential. Taught primarily in WSMS classrooms on weekends and during school breaks, WSMS-TEP offers a supportive learning environment in which adult students work together with experienced, highly qualified Montessori educators, some of whom are graduates
of WSMS-TEP themselves, while others bring additional perspective from training programs around the country.
For many years WSMS-TEP offered the Montessori Early Childhood credential. In the fall of 2013 WSMS began the Twos Program; TEP had begun to offer the Infant Toddler credential the year before. Crucially aware of the expanding need (throughout the world) for high quality Montessori educators over a broader range of ages and experience than just Early Childhood, WSMS-TEP began to expand and has nearly tripled in size over the last few years. The first cohorts for Elementary I and II began in 2016 and the Administrator program began in 2017. Additional locations have also been added in recent years, including in Beijing, China and Whitehouse Station, NJ.