Reflections on the AMI 0-3 Orientation Certificate course 

Fiona AMI Montessori Orientation Certificate at SMTC

As a Montessori 3-6 educator for many years I have embraced the opportunity to observe and provide a learning environment for children of this age. However, I have often reflected as to why the 3-6 Diploma course does not include more specific knowledge pertaining to those under three years of age and provide a total overview of a child in the first plane of development. This is all the more intriguing given that the Diploma primary training (6-12 years) not only provides a thorough overview of the 2nd plane of development but also requires a short 3-6 foundation component (now integrated into the AMI 6-12 Diploma) that, in theory, provides some knowledge, at least at a curriculum level of a child in the first plane of development. How such a short 3-6 component can do justice to the intricacies and variations of learning that occurs in the 3-6 year old age is a question for another day.

I would consider my 3-6 AMI training in London in the 1970s to be extremely thorough, embracing and imparting Dr Montessori’s pedagogy and observations with great clarity,  however, I always felt that the starting point was almost in a vacuum given the minimal developmental knowledge that was shared regarding the vital and all important first three years of life. 

Over the years and having read extensively, networked, observed and had my own children I have gleaned considerable information pertinent to the younger age and in my role as a 3-6 director and later, Principal, this has been invaluable. 

However, I have always felt that an overview and more specific details would have been so advantageous not just for myself but also to those parents who I was constantly engaged with as they and their family embarked on their Montessori journey often at an age far younger than three! 

Ironically, due to my work and personal commitments, there was little time to consider further study but courtesy of Covid the opportunity presented itself. Even more ironically this occurred in the twilight of my career — just as I was leaving my full time leadership role to allow more time for other projects and to complete my masters with a focus on the motivation of children under five years of age. 

In August 2021, I enrolled in the six-week AMI 0-3 Orientation Certificate online course. My trainer was Julia Hilson who imparted her incredible Montessori knowledge of 0-3 year olds with such passion, respect and clarity whilst managing zoom logistics, assignments etc, for more than 30 participants. 

I was totally inspired by the knowledge I was gaining and the opportunity to reread passages of Dr Montessori’s writings with a focused purpose was a refreshing professional development that only increased my respect for her acute observations of the child. As the lectures were presented, I was reflecting on how my approach as a 3-6 educator might have been different had I had more theoretical knowledge of just what this younger child had achieved in the first three years, but also the diversity of each child at the age of 3. Dare I suggest that without this knowledge, especially in the early years of my career, I had quite a static expectation of a three-year-old in all aspects of their development. Over the years, my interest has always been in how the child learns and hence flexibility became key to my approach, but for many this might not be so, and that expectation remains more static. 

Suffice it to say that I can only recommend any person interested in becoming a Montessori 3-6 educator strongly consider enrolling in workshops/lectures or a course specific to the Montessori pedagogy  and the development of a 0-3 year old child. I would love to see all Montessori educators provided with greater knowledge of these foundational years prior to studying a diploma of any age, but especially those embarking on a 3-6 diploma. Maybe a Montessori specific short foundation study course focused on the  0-3 child? 

I was truly inspired by my experience and, my awe and respect for each young child now has far greater depth and understanding. I only wish that I had prioritised this course as essential at an earlier point in my career!

Fiona is working with SMTC on our Alumni Project and is also looking at how we can work together as a community to bring Montessori to rural communities.

Our next AMI 0-3 Orientation course commences online this September 2023 with AMI 0-3 Trainer, Sara Brady, over 2 evenings a week for 6 weeks. Find out more: AMI Montessori 0-3 Orientation Certificate

Julia Hilson will embark on our next AMI 0-3 Diploma this September 2023, commencing online with a mixture of online and in-person blocks in Melbourne. To find out more see: AMI Montessori 0-3 Diploma