• Early Childhood Program

The child from late toddlerhood through the kindergarten year is in a critical period of growth and actively seeks out opportunities to satisfy curiosity about the world.

The adult’s role is to prepare the classroom environment and routines, facilitate choice, and partner in learning experiences. The early childhood environment reflects order, with attention to organization of curriculum materials into logical groupings. The environment is planned to provide multiple opportunities for meaningful interactions with peers and materials to support growing independence, coordination, and concentration.

Academic Phase

The Academic Phase consists of 300+ hours of coursework in Montessori theory and pedagogy. The Early Childhood credential program is offered through a hybrid format. In-person classes are held at West Side Montessori School, online sessions via our Learning Management Systems (Canvas, PowerSchool) and virtual sessions via Zoom. Adult learners at WSMS-TEP study developmental needs and milestones of children, practice observation and record keeping strategies, work to master the essential material presentations, and learn the importance of optimistic leadership for the benefit of children and their families. The instructor-to-student ratio for the program is 1:25.

Practicum Phase: Student Teaching

In the Practicum Phase, students apply the knowledge they have gained from the Academic Phase in a supervised student teaching placement. Students are responsible for finding their own placement, though we will offer suggestions of schools that we have found to be successful student teaching sites. The student teacher must work for a minimum of a half-day classroom schedule from September to June in an approved Montessori school under the supervision of an approved supervising teacher. The Practicum Phase follows the completion of the Academic Phase, no more than two years after the last academic course. No portion of the Practicum Phase may precede the Academic Phase.

Practicum Seminar Weekends

Two Practicum Seminar weekends are held during November and April of the Practicum Phase year. The Practicum Seminar weekends meet on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Practicum Seminars include additional academic content, practical exams, and additional workshop sessions on academic course content.

Format Options

The Early Childhood credential program at WSMS-TEP provides two options for completion. Students without prior experience working in a Montessori environment are encouraged to enroll in Track 2, which allows sufficient time to practice material presentations in a classroom before entering the Practicum Phase.

Track 1: Accelerated six-week summer program

This cycle can be completed in ONE or TWO years, depending on timing of the Practicum Phase

  • Academic Phase: Classes meet over six weeks during one summer, late June through early August, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Practicum Phase: One academic year of student teaching follows the Academic Phase. Two Practicum Seminars are held in November and April of the student teaching year..
Track 2: Year of Saturday classes followed by three-week summer program

This format can be completed in two or three years

    • Academic Phase: From September through May, classes meet on approximately two Saturdays each month, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Classes meet for three weeks in mid-July to early August, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • Practicum Phase: One academic year of student teaching follows the Academic Phase. Two Practicum Seminars are held in November and April of the student teaching year.


Lisanne Pinciotti
Early Childhood Program Level Coordinator

Melissa Freeman
Practicum Coordinator

Already have a Montessori credential?

Are you interested in learning more about how to create an inclusive Montessori classroom? Consider combining your teaching credential with the Montessori Inclusion Endorsement (MIE) at a reduced tuition rate. After you complete a teaching credential, you will continue your studies with the MIE in the next cohort.

For more information, contact Katherine Schneider at kschneider@wsmsnyc.org today!

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