Courses

Paraprofessional Course Forming Now!

Assistants Course_FIN

Topics covered will include:

• Child development

• Becoming an early childhood education professional

• Caregiving routines and rituals

• Observation

• Developing environments

• Foundations for early learning

• Families and Community

 

 

 

 

 

References to the American Montessori Society and MACTE throughout this document are solely to indicate that those standards and requirements are being followed and in no way imply AMS and/or MACTE affiliation at this time.

 

Course Component:        Montessori Philosophy

Course Instructor:           Maya Rutkowski

Component Hours:        40 Contact Hours + 10 Independent Study Hours

Introduction:
This course consists of readings about Maria Montessori’s life and experiences as well as Maria Montessori’s own works, detailing her observations, theories, and materials. Discussions and sharing of personal experiences will further elaborate on the Montessori ideas of “sensitive periods”, “planes of development”, “the spiritual embryo”, and “the absorbent mind” as well as the importance of independence in the prepared environment and the adult’s role in the child’s experience.  The Montessori perspective in regards to human development, environmental design, and the adult’s role will guide the student in developing curriculum designed to meet the needs of the whole child in the classroom.
MACTE Competencies:
The Candidate for a credential will:
1.a. Demonstrate an understanding and implementation of Montessori philosophy with a focus from the prenatal stage through the age of three.
1.b. Comprehend and utilize an understanding of the stages of human growth and development with an emphasis in prenatal through to age three.
2.b. Effectively interact with the whole child and support development in a culturally sensitive manner.
2.c. Demonstrate leadership skills and an understanding of professional standards.
Instructional Methods:
Methods of instruction may include:

  • Lecture
  • Group Discussion
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Observation
  • Group Projects
  • Video
  • Selected Readings
  • Written Assignments
  • Quizzes and Final Written Examinations
  • Attendance, punctuality, mindful preparation, and enthusiastic participation by the adult learner are assumed.

Meeting Schedule:
See training schedule provided

Course Components:

Lesson 1: Maria Montessori Biography
Lesson 2: The Planes of Development
Lesson 3: The Absorbent Mind
Lesson 4: The Sensitive Periods
Lesson 5: The Spiritual Embryo
Lesson 6: Movement, the Hand, and Constructive Work
Lesson 7: The Prepared Environment:  Order, and Independence
Lesson 8: The Montessori Guide
Lesson 9: Normalization, Peace Education, and Cosmic Education
Lesson 10: The Importance of Nature to the Young Child

Required Textbooks:

  • Maria Montessori : Her Life and Work – by E.M. Standing
  • The Absorbent Mind –  by Maria Montessori
  • The Secret of Childhood – by Maria Montessori
  • The Discovery of the Child – by Maria Montessori
    Education and Peace – Maria Montessori

Course Requirements (details outlined within syllabi):

  • Attendance at all class sessions and meetings
  • Class Participation
  • Montessori Time Line (Assignment #1)
  • Philosophy Written Exam I (Assignment #2)
  • Qualities of a Montessori Guide (Assignment #3)
  • Philosophy Written Exam II (Assignment #4)
  • Montessori Philosophy Rationale (Assignment #5)
  • Philosophy Resource Manual (Assignment #6)

Curriculum:

 

Lesson 1: Maria Montessori – Her Life and Her Work
As a group, we will discuss the required readings about Maria Montessori’s own education, the development of her theory and method, and the spread of the Montessori movement around the world. Our discussion will be facilitated and enhanced by our understanding of world events and leaders of Maria Montessori’s time as show by the Montessori time lines created in class (Assignment #1).

Required Readings Due:  

Maria Montessori: Her Life and Her Work
Assignment #1: Creation of a Montessori Time Line
Within small groups, create a timeline of the Montessori movement and its place in the larger history of the world at that time. Include important dates in world history, Maria Montessori’s life, milestones in the development of Montessori education, and in the evolution of the international Montessori movement as well as who were Montessori’s peers in child development, education, politics, and world leadership and their general philosophies. Present this in an organized, sequential, and beautiful display. What insights do you have on the role historical events played in the Montessori’s development of her method?

Lesson 2: The Planes of Development
We will be discussing, Maria Montessori’s view of child development which she saw as being divided into 3 well-defined stages which she termed the “planes of development”. Each plane is characterized by a specific way of thinking and interacting that differs from that of the other planes.  We will discuss each Plane of Development, the age range in which it is in operation, their defining characteristics, and the approach education must take to use this plane of the child’s life to its greatest advantage.
Lesson 3: The Absorbent Mind
We will be discussing the concept of Montessori’s Absorbent Mind. The mind of the child between the ages of birth and three years is taking in information at an amazing rate and helping the child define the adult they will become. It is a critical time in development in which the environment is essential to the growth of a self-confident, contributing individual who has a love of learning and a sense of social responsibility. We will be discussing how the Absorbent Mind develops and changes with age, and how adults must approach the child within this most important stage of their life.
Lesson 4: The Sensitive Periods
An understanding of child development is essential to creating an approach that uses what the child is capable of and giving them experiences that will further their skills and understanding. Maria Montessori saw children as moving through a series of Sensitive Periods – times in a child’s development when they are ready to learn a specific skill and are drawn to experiences that will give them opportunities to perfect that skill. We will be discussing Sensitive Periods, how to recognize them, and how to create an environment which takes advantage of these stages of learning.
Lesson 5: The Spiritual Embryo
Just as a physical embryo depends on a specific environment which is nourishing, nurturing, and safe, the young child is a Spiritual Embryo to whom the environment is equally important  in developing self-confidence, a love of learning, and social awareness. The way in which we view a child and the prepared environment is vital to the success of our approach and, most importantly, is vital to the child’s well-being throughout life.

Assignment #2: Philosophy Written Exam I
An in-class essay detailing the area of the Montessori Philosophy covered by the required readings as well as in class lectures and discussions. Subjects covered will include the history of the Montessori movement, the Planes of Development, the Sensitive Periods, the Absorbent Mind, and the Spiritual Embryo.

Lesson 6: Freedom of Movement, the Hand, and Constructive Work
Maria Montessori saw the child as constructing himself. In this work, the child is learning to coordinate the body, the hand, and interactions with the world. To accommodate these needs, the Montessori environment provides many opportunities for the child to move through space and interact with the materials in a hands on way towards meaningful and purposeful ends. We will be discussing the importance of freedom of movement, the use of the hand, and the opportunity for constructive work to the whole child’s development.
Lesson 7: The Prepared Environment: Order and Independence
Because the child learns through hands-on experience driven by his/her sensitive periods, a prepared environment provides the necessary experiences and opportunities essential to their growth and learning. We will discuss what is the Montessori Prepared Environment and the role Order and Independence play in its functioning.
Lesson 8: The Montessori Guide
The Montessori prepared environment is the foundation for the child’s learning and the Montessori guide is the caretaker of this environment. We will discuss how through careful observation and an understanding of the Montessori approach, the guide judges how the environment should be prepared and changed to meet the progress and new developmental needs of the children.
Assignment #3: Qualities of a Montessori Guide
Within small groups, create a project detailing the qualities of a successful Montessori guide in a creative and individualized style.
Lesson 9: Normalization, Peace Education, and Cosmic Education
The aim of the Montessori classroom and curriculum is to create an environment and atmosphere of calm yet constructive energy, where each child is working toward their own aim in a peaceful and respectful way. We will be discussing the concept of normalization and how a normalized environment allows the child to feel at peace and free to interact at their own pace and according to their inner directive. This is achieved through a foundation of peaceful relationships, working through conflict with respect, and an understanding of our place in the world as being a piece of a larger whole.

Lesson 10: The Importance of Nature to the Young Child
The child is a natural part of the world around him. He thrives in sensorial experiences gained outdoors and interacting with the elements – which provide him with all the opportunities he may need to become a life long learner and a contributing member of society. Using The Last Child in the Woods as the foundation of our discussion, we will be examine how the natural world benefits the child both emotionally and cognitively and how it lays the foundation for normalization and social responsibility.
In Class Video:  “Mother Nature’s Child”

 

Assignment #4: Philosophy Written Exam II
In class essay detailing the areas of the Montessori Philosophy covered by the required readings and in class lectures and discussions. Subjects covered will include the importance of the prepared environment and movement to the young child, the role of the teacher, and constructive work.
Assignment #5: Philosophy Rationale Paper (1.a., 1.b.)
3-6 page essay synthesizing your understanding of the Montessori Philosophy. Include a narrative time-line of Maria Montessori’s life and work, how she developed her approach, and the important historical events that shaped her views of the world, the child, and education as well as contributing to the method’s acceptance and spread worldwide. Also define and explain the key Montessori concepts including the Planes of Development, the Absorbent Mind, Sensitive Periods, the Spiritual Embryo as well as the importance of the Montessori guide within the Prepared Environment, Order and Independence, and the need for movement.
Assignment #6: Philosophy Resource Manual (1.a, 1.b, 1.d, 2.b, 2.c)
To demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of this course component, create a beautiful and thoughtfully organized Montessori Philosophy Resource Manual that follows the “Montessori Resource Manual Requirements” and includes:
Montessori Philosophy Rationale Paper
Notes on the required readings divided into tabs according to book titles
Notes on the class lectures and discussions divided by tabs according to subjects covered
All handouts organized into the appropriate sections
Montessori Philosophy Exam I and II
Montessori quotes beautifully presented and thoughtfully placed within the album
Photos/pictures beautifully presented and thoughtfully placed within the album

Course Component:        Child Development    
Course Instructor:           Maya Rutkowski

Component Hours:               48 Contact Hours + 10 Independent Study Hours

Introduction:
This course focuses on the growth of the child from conception through age three and the development of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional abilities inherent to this age level.  We will study many theories of development, including those of Erikson, Piaget, Bowlby, Ainsworth, and Freud, as well as the latest findings concerning physical growth, brain development, and the effects of experience on language, emotional intelligence, and personality integration. These will be discussed in both their historical context as well as their relevance and relationship with the Montessori philosophy.

MACTE Competencies:

The Candidate for a credential will:
1.b. Demonstrate and utilize an understanding of the stages of growth and development with an emphasis on prenatal to age three.
1.d. Demonstrate knowledge of developmental and behavioral norms and potential recommendations for early intervention.
2.b. Effectively interact with the whole child and support development in a culturally sensitive manner.

Instructional Methods:
Methods of instruction may include:

  • Lecture
  • Group Discussion
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Observation
  • Group Projects
  • Video
  • Selected Readings
  • Written Assignments
  • Quizzes and Final Written Examinations
  • Attendance, punctuality, mindful preparation, and enthusiastic participation by the adult learner are assumed.

Meeting Schedule:
See training schedule provided

Course Components:

Lesson 1: The Miracle of Conception and Prenatal Development
Lesson 2: Labor and Delivery
Lesson 3: Symbiotic Life
Lesson 4: Early Theorists and Maria Montessori
Lesson 5:  Physical Development
Lesson 6: Neurological Development
Lesson 7: Cognitive Development
Lesson 8: Language Development
Lesson 9: Social-Emotional Development
Lesson 10: Oneness and Separateness

Required Textbooks:

  • Birthing From Within by Pam England and Bob Horowitz
  • Active Birth by Jane Balaskas
  • Magic Trees of the Mind by Marian Diamond and Janet Hopson
  •   How Babies Talk by Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek
  • First Feelings by Stanley Greenspan
  • Oneness and Separateness by Louise Kaplan

Course Requirements (details outlined within syllabi):

  • Attendance at all class sessions and meetings
  • Class Participation
  •   Case Study Project (Assignment #1)
  • Child Development Rationale Paper (Assignment #2)
  • Creation of a Child Development Resource Manual (Assignment #3)

Curriculum:

Lesson 1: The Miracle of Conception and Prenatal Development   
We will be exploring conception and the development of the embryo and fetus during the prenatal stage through an in-class lecture and video. There will also be a discussion of the required readings (listed below). Included in this discussion will be the importance of sensorial experiences to the fetus. Appropriate nutrition, exercise, and a positive emotional atmosphere are critical to both the fetus and the mother so therefore will also be addressed.
In Class Video: The Discovery Channel’s “In the Womb”

Lesson 2: Labor and Delivery
An in class lecture will explain the stages of labor and delivery as well as methods of pain management and coping. Our discussion will focus on the experience of the mother and support partner, examining their physical and emotional needs through this experience and understanding how these needs can be met in various birthing scenarios.

Required Readings Due: 

  • Birthing from Within – all Chapters
  • Active Birth – all Chapters

In Class Video:  “The Business of Being Born”

Lesson 3: Symbiotic Life
An in class lecture about the first 6 to 8 weeks of life. Our discussion will focus on the physical, neurological, cognitive, language, and social emotional development of the newborn. This discussion will also help the adult learner understand the experience and perspective  of the new mother and family.

Lesson 4: Early Theorists and Maria Montessori

We will explore the history of the understanding of child development through a lecture introducing the various child development theorists that arose in the 18th and early 19th century chronologically. This will allow the student to understand the context of Maria Montessori’s observations, discoveries, and insights in reference to the scientific community of her time as well her influences.
In Class Video:  “The Wild Child”
Lesson 5: Infant and Toddler Physical Development

An in-class lecture detailing the physical changes that occur in the child from infancy through the age of three. We will discuss gross motor and fine motor development, visual acuity and the eruption of the milk teeth.

Lesson 6: Neurological Development
An in-class lecture discussing the development of the nervous system, focusing on the brain and brain neurons. An understanding of the development of the brain helps shed light on the other aspects of development – physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional development.
Required Reading Due:
Magic Trees of the Mind – all Chapters

Lesson 7: Cognitive Development
An in-class lecture examining the theorists that focused on cognitive development including Vygotsky and Jean Piaget and the changes that occur in the child’s cognition, problem-solving skills, and understanding of the world around them from infancy through the age of three.
In Class Video: Steven Hughes’ “Good at Doing Things” Lecture

Lesson 8: Language Development
An in class discussion on how language develops from infancy through the age of three. This discussion will include information about the parts of language including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. We will examine how language emerges using these elements from the concrete to the abstract – from actions to words.

Required Reading Due:
How Babies Talk – all chapters
Lesson 9: Social-Emotional Development

The discussion on social emotional development will focus on theorists such as Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson and John Bowlby. These theorists shed light on how social emotional development is integrated into all other areas of development and the child’s experiences in the world. We will also discuss the emergence of social awareness and social interaction skills from infancy through the age of three.
Required Reading Due:
First Feelings – all Chapters

Lesson 10: Oneness and Separateness
A group discussion regarding the reading of “Oneness and Separateness” by Louise Kaplan.

Required Reading Due:

Oneness and Separateness – all Chapters

Lesson 11: Child Development Case Study
Assignment #1: Case Study Project (1.b., 1.d., 2.b.)
In your classroom, choose one student to follow over the course of the year for a thorough case study. This will be an in-depth look into the child’s development, behavior, and experiences in the classroom as well as the teacher’s observations, interpretations, and planning in regards to the child’s progress.
Include:

  • Title page
  • Pregnancy and birth history
  • Family profile
  • Developmental checklist birth through current age
  • Physical description of the child
  • Temperamental assessment of the child
  • Weekly observations in various styles
  • Introspective observations in regards to interactions with the child
  • Evidence of curriculum planning and implementation based on observations with assessments of outcomes
  • Documentation of communication with parents
  • Any school documentation including injury reports, parent communication reports, parent/teacher conference reports
  • Photos documenting child’s growth, progress, and activity in the environment over the course of the year
  • 3 page paper summarizing 1) the child’s development  and progress over the year, 2) your experience with completing the requirements, observing the child’s development, implementing the Montessori philosophy and pedagogy, classroom management, and discipline approaches and 3) your growth as a guide and an individual.

Assignment #2: Child Development Rationale Paper (1.b., 2.b.)
In a 3 to 7 page paper, briefly explain how the child grows from a newborn infant through the age of three, referring to the areas of development covered in the course – neurological, physical, language, cognitive, and social/emotional. Also describe the numerous child development theories discussed and how Maria Montessori’s view compares  and contrasts with these theories.

Assignment #3: Child Development Resource Manual (1.b., 1.d., 2.b.)
To demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of this course component create a Child Development Resource Manual that follows the “Montessori Resource Manual Requirements” and includes:

  • Child Development Rational Paper
  • Notes on class lectures and discussion divided into tabs by:
  • Theorists
  • Prenatal Development and Labor and Delivery
  • Infant and Toddler Development
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Language
  • Social/Emotional
  • All handouts, reading and video notes, and discussion notes  organized into the appropriate sections
  • Case Study Project
  • 10 Montessori quotes beautifully presented and thoughtfully placed within the manual
  • 10 photos/pictures beautifully presented and thoughtfully placed within the manual

Course Component:        Child, Family, and Community

Component Hours:                16 contact hours + 10 independent study hours

Instructor:                               Maya Rutkowski
Introduction:

This course is a discussion of the larger community’s role in the lives of children. As educators, we are a resource for parents and families as it is not only children that are learning but the adults in their lives as well. We will examine the importance of our relationship with the families of the children in our care, as well as communication skills that are sensitive to the needs and experiences of individual families. Topics will include the psychology of parenting, discipline techniques, early intervention, health and nutrition, early intervention, and other community resources.
Course Content:

  1. Lesson 1: The Six Stages of Parenthood
  2. Lesson 2: The Child in the Family
  3. Lesson 3: How Biology and Culture Shapes the Way We Parent
  4. Lesson 4: Communicating with Parents
  5. Lesson 5: Family and Community Resources
  6. Lesson 6: Issues in the Family and Community – Health and Nutrition, Child Abuse, Life Stressors
  7. Lesson 7: Meeting the Needs of Every Child

Required Textbooks:

  • The Six Stages of Parenthood – by Ellen Galinsky
  • The Child in the Family – by Maria Montessori
  • Our Babies, Ourselves – by Meredith Small

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance to all class sessions and meetings
  • Class Participation
  • Parenting Around the World Assignment (Assignment #1)
  • Write a Parent-Teacher Conference (Assignment #2)
  • Planning a Parent/Child Education Night (Assignment #3)
  • Parent Resource Binder    (Assignment #4)
  • Child, Family, and Community Resource Manual (Assignment #5)

Course Component:        Pedagogy and Environmental Design

Component Hours:                60 Contact Hours + 10 Independent Study Hours
Course Instructor:                  Mercedes Castle

Introduction:

The development, design, and implementation of the prepared environment for the youngest child is explored in the context of Montessori and best practice philosophy and pedagogy with special attention paid to:

  • Group size, ratio, and Oregon State licensing/QRIS standards.
  • The ‘sensitive periods’ with particular explorations around the development of movement, language, and order.
  • Development of schedule, design of space, materials selection and preparation will be investigated and addressed in the context of the exploration and refinement of senses, self care, and environmental design.

Pedagogy is understood to be both the art and science of teaching. We will examine in great detail Montessori’s principles and ideas, her view of the nature of the child and the child’s place in society, with emphasis on Montessori’s concept of the child from birth to three. Scientific analysis of how to nurture and assist the unfolding of the human personality; care of physical and psychological needs; daily routines and riturals as curriculum; strategies for assistance; interaction techniques with children; peaceful communication, with emphasis on continued personal development of the adult caregiver and the qualities of the adult based on Montessori’s view of the child; developmental assessment and record keeping.

Course Components:

The adult learner is presented with environmental designs that integrate the child’s need for human connection and personal happiness and self satisfaction through:

 

  • sensory and motor experiences;
  • language experiences;
  • cultural experiences;
  • positive social experiences;
  • self-care;
  • routines and procedures;

 

  • peace education

The adult learner is introduced to Oregon Office of Education(OOC) licensing requirements for both Certified Family Child Care Homes and Certified Child Care Centers.  Adult learner is oriented to the Oregon QRIS for Certified Homes and Centers. Awareness and understanding of  Licensing regulations/Oregon QRIS is assessed in the practicum.

 

Required Textbooks:

  • Understanding the Human Being  by Silvana Montanaro
  • Dear Parent  by Magda Gerber
  • The RIE Manual edited by Magda Gerber
  • The Unfolding of the Infant’s Natural Gross Motor Development by The Pickler Institute

Required Videos:

  • In the Beginning: The First Years of Montessori
  • Seeing Infants with New Eyes
  • See How They Sleep
  • See How They Move
  • On Their Own With Our Help
  • This is a Montessori Toddler Classroom

Course Requirements (details outlined within syllabi):

Course Component:       Leadership and Personal Growth
Component Hours:              32 contact hours + 10 independent study hours
Course Instructor:                Mercedes Castle/Maya Rutkowski

Introduction:
The relationships between the teachers in the classroom and the teachers with the administration are vital to the success of the children and the program. This course is designed to help the student become comfortable in a leadership role within  his/her own classroom, including staff training and delegating responsibilities as well as understanding the basic functions of school administration including licensing regulations, staffing and scheduling, wage and hour laws, adult supervision, and interpersonal communications.
Working through a Montessori credentialing program and working as a teacher in a classroom requires introspection and a re-examination of your own beliefs and behaviors. This course is meant to be a resource for students as they manage their stress and emotions, have questions about their experiences, re-evaluate themselves and their techniques, and work on their Infant and Toddler manuals.

Course Component Content:
Lesson 1: The Adult in the Montessori Environment – Professionalism
Lesson 2: Self-Awareness and Introspection
Lesson 3: Licensing Regulations
Lesson 4: Operational Policies and Procedures
Lesson 5: Human Resources and Staffing
Lesson 6: Marketing and Accounting
Lesson 7: Adult Supervision
Lesson 8: Managing Organizational Change
Lesson 9: Working with the Difficult Employee

Required Readings:

  • State of Oregon Child Care Division Licensing Handbook

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance to all class sessions and meetings
  • Class Participation
  • Views on the Infant/Toddler Guide’s Role Essay (Assignment #1)
  • Personal Growth Journal (Assignment #2)
  • Self-Evaluation Essay (Assignment #3)
  • The Role of the Administration in the School Setting Paper (Assignment #4)
  • Leadership and Administration Resource Manual (Assignment #5)

Course Component:    Observation and Classroom Management
Component Hours:      16 + 10 Independent Study Hours
Instructor:                     Mercedes Castle

Introduction:
Observation is a cornerstone of the Montessori approach upon which all other aspects of the curriculum are based. In this course, we will discuss why observation is so vital to understanding child development, the workings of the classroom, and meeting the needs of the group and the individual. Much of the information covered in previous components such as Child Development, Philosophy, and Pedagogy and Environmental Design will be revisited in a new framework and particular attention will be paid to  the role of the guide. Methods of observation and various observation scales will also be covered.

It is only through keen observation that we can meet the needs of the individual and the group. A normalized classroom is one in which the guide has used her observation skills to create a stimulating and supportive environment. So in addition to observation skills, a guide must also understand the interpersonal dynamics and best practices needed to create emotional well-being within the children. Discussions will cover methods of “discipline”, techniques for supporting children through social problem solving, and peace education.

Course Component Content:
Lesson 1: Observation is Vital
Lesson 2: Methods of Observation
Lesson 3: Guidelines for Observation
Lesson 4: Planning for Children Based on Observation
Lesson 5: Sharing Our Observations with Parents
Lesson 6: Discipline Styles
Lesson 7: Positive Discipline

Required Readings:

  • Positive Discipline – The First Three Years by Jane Nelson
  • Unconditional Parenting – Alfie Kohn
  • The RIE Manual

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance to all class sessions and meetings
  • Class Participation
  • Observation and Classroom Management Rationale (Assignment #1)
  • Observation and Classroom Management Resource Manual (Assignment #2)

Course Component:    Practicum, 540 teaching hours

Instructors:                         Mercedes Castle, Maya Rutkowski