Montessori Early Childhood Education

MSEd in Montessori Early Childhood Education

The Master of Science in Education in Montessori Early Childhood Education program focuses on preparing professional teachers to understand the theory and practice of teaching and learning. Through the Montessori Early Childhood Education program, students complete all requirements for the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) early childhood (ages 2.5-6) teacher certification and for (081) birth-5 teacher certification with the Maine Department of Education.  The coursework also allows students who complete an internship in grades kindergarten through grade 3 to apply for (029) Early Elementary Endorsement K-3.

The program is offered in collaboration with the Maine Montessori Institute located at Winfield Children’s House in Falmouth, Maine. Winfield Children’s House is an AMS accredited early childhood program serving children ages 12 months-age 6. The Maine Montessori Institute is a full affiliate training site of the American Montessori Society and is a MACTE accredited teacher training center. Students learn the practice of teaching through a year-long internship and explore the theoretical and research-based principles of the Montessori method and materials design by Dr. Maria Montessori.

The Master of Science in Education in Montessori Early Childhood Education is a 40 credit hour degree that focuses on preparing professional teachers to understand the theory and practice of teaching and learning. Through the program, students complete all requirements for American Montessori Society (AMS) and Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) credential, Maine’s Department of Education early childhood (ages 2.5-6) teacher certification (081) and (029), and the Master of Science in Education.

This cohort based, full-time, one to two year program begins in the summer and continues through the following two academic semesters. Coursework located at Winfield Children's House is concurrent with an internship in a program approved Early Childhood Montessori or early elementary school. In addition to the courses offered through the Maine Montessori Institute, students in the program take two research courses, EDU 600: Research Methods and Techniques and EDU 643: Inquiry in Education (may also substitute: SED 699 Directed Study in Special Education, or EDU 667 Professional Educator Capstone), at USM.

Course Requirements (40 credits)

ECE 510 Practical Applications of the Montessori Method for Students with Exceptionalities (3 crs)
ECE 511 Classroom Leadership and Environmental Design in an Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (2 crs)
ECE 512 Montessori Principles and Philosophy (3 crs)
ECE 513 Child Development, Family and Community (3 crs)
ECE 514 Practical Life in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (2 crs)
ECE 515 Sensorial in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (2 crs)
ECE 516 Early Childhood Assessment and Observation  (3 crs)
ECE 520 Language Arts in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (3 crs)
ECE 521 Mathematics in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (3 crs)
ECE 522 Cultural Subjects -Science in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (3 crs)
ECE 523 Cultural Subjects - Social Studies in the Early Childhood Montessori Classroom (3 crs)
ECE 525 Early Childhood Practicum  (2 crs)
ECE 526 Early Childhood Internship (2 crs)
EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques (3 crs)
EDU 643 Inquiry in Education (3 crs)

Tk20 Subscription:

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20 (Watermark), a comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program.  For loan purposes, TK20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs.  The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year.  Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy:  In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program-completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20). 

Applicant Qualifications

An earned bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program. Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadlines:

January 30
Rolling after January 30 if space available

Application must include:

  • Application: Online Application
  • The application fee of $65.00
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume showing history of employment, education, and community service.
  • Essay (see below).
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's potential for pursuing graduate level academic work, experience working with child and youth, and dispositions for being a professional teacher. The recommendations should be from persons able to comment from direct knowledge of the applicant's potential for success as a teacher and graduate student.
  • Praxis Core Test report (see below for passing scores)
  • Catalog of Experiences (see below).
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English 

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

Special Essay Question:

The essay applicants submit is a replacement to the standard essay question in Graduate School Application. It is a thoughtful response to the following prompts:

  • Why do you want to become a Montessori teacher?
  • What characteristics do you possess that you feel will make you successful in the area of teaching?
  • What is your personal style of teaching?
  • How will you incorporate the material learned in the Montessori early childhood education program into your own style of teaching?

Catalog of Experiences:

Provide an annotated list of experiences particularly significant in your development as a learner and prospective teacher. The catalog should describe your experiences working with children and any events that have led to a deeper understanding of the content area(s) you will teach. It should also include the insights you have gained from those experiences.

Testing Requirements:

All individuals seeking Maine teacher certification must achieve minimum scores on a basic skills assessment in reading, writing, and math. Praxis Core is therefore a requirement for admission into the Montessori program. To pass Praxis Core applicants must have a composite score of 468 (or higher), including all scores within three points of passing.  Passing scores: Reading – 156; Writing – 162; Math – 150.

Professional Licensure and Certification Notice

Students who are pursuing degrees leading to application for professional licensure or certification, and/or who will be participating in clinical placements, internships, or practica through their USM program should be aware that their host facility may require a criminal background check, finger printing, or drug screening. In such situations, each student is responsible for obtaining and paying for the background check or other screening process and for delivering required documentation to the facility. Although the University will make reasonable efforts to place admitted students in field experiences and internships, it will be up to the host facility to determine whether a student will be allowed to work at that facility. Students should further be aware that a criminal record may jeopardize licensure by the state certification body. Students may consult the certification body corresponding to their intended occupation for more details. Successful completion of a program of study at USM does not guarantee licensure, certification, or employment in the relevant occupation.