The course is over a single academic year running from the beginning of September to the middle of July. Students are required to be present at the school five days a week from 8.15am to 4.30pm (5.00pm on one of the days) but with breaks in the morning and at lunchtime. Leave of absence is allowed during the week marking half term and during the Christmas and Easter school holidays.
Students spend much of their time in the classroom working alongside a qualified teacher and are given additional time for study. In order both to provide experience with a wide variety of age groups as well as access to the personalities of different teaching staff, students move to a different classroom each half term. Students follow the Montessori Centre International (MCI) distance learning course, which for the Diploma entails fourteen essays and compulsory attendance at three Saturday morning seminars.
The requirements for the Foundation Certificate are considerably less demanding. A weekly lecture on the theory and a weekly practical seminar are given. During the second part of the year students are required to prepare a teaching practice file with structured assignments.
Students must also complete 420 hours of supervised teaching practice. In the course of the academic year students are required to attend a two week workshop at the MCI and to sit two examinations, one in the use of practical materials and the other in the theory of the Montessori method. Following a satisfactory assessment by an assigned tutor the International Diploma is awarded.
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