AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3) diploma course

The first three years of life are a critical foundation for development. Our MACTE accredited AMI Assistants to Infancy training provides the knowledge and confidence you will need to support infants, toddlers, and their families in both in-home and school-based settings.  


2016-2017 Assistants to Infancy COURSE INFORMATION

Director of Training

Nancy Lechner (Bio)

Format & Schedule

Two Summer Format                                                                   Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4pm                                               Session 1: June 13-Aug. 12, 2016                                             Session 2: June 12 - Aug. 11, 2017

Tuition & Fees

Early Admissions Deadline: February 15, 2016                       Application Fee: $25                                                                 Enrollment Fee: $75 (for early admissions), $125 (after early admissions date)                                                             Exam Fee: $350 (due summer 2017)

Tuition: $10,500                                                                      *Tuition includes a two year membership to AMI and NAMTA  


View the MNW Assistants to Infancy Course 6 (San Francisco, CA) Student Handbook 2015-2016 PDF

Course Description

The AMI Assistants to Infancy course offers a comprehensive study of Montessori theory and practice to work with children aged birth to three in home environments and toddler classroom environments. During 625 hours of teacher preparation, students thoroughly explore Montessori philosophy, human development, Montessori infant and toddler activities/materials, and expectations for Montessori professional communities. Adult learner to instructor ratio is 32 adult learners to 1 course instructor and 1 course assistant.

Through their coursework, students learn how to guide healthy growth and development during these vital early years. The child at this age requires a safe, engaging, and nurturing environment to develop trust in themselves and their world. By offering age-appropriate activities and gentle feedback, the Montessori guide helps to build the child’s confidence in their emerging abilities, develop coordination and language skills, and gain independence in daily tasks and activities.

The Assistants to Infancy course focuses particularly on sensory-motor and language development. Other topics examined include school and classroom design, creation of toys and activities, parent support and consultation, and affiliated fields, such as obstetrics. For individuals trained in other levels of Montessori education, the information offered in the Assistants to Infancy course will support and augment their previous training. Most significantly, this course is practical; it will enhance any study of early childhood education, and will benefit any future parent.

Academic Requirements

Students produce six comprehensive teaching manuals to support their work with children and families, in the areas of Theory, Medical, Child Neuropsychiatry, Home Environment, Aids to Psycho-Sensory Motor Development, and Community Environments. These teaching manuals form a large component of the students’ work throughout the course, and are based on demonstrations and lectures given by the trainer.

Students learn how to create beautiful and useful materials for work with young children. Practical advice, including sewing and construction techniques, is provided for students who need additional assistance.

Observation is at the core of the Montessori guide’s work. During 250 hours of observation of children aged birth to three, students take detailed notes about what they see, and interpret these observations through the lens of Montessori theory and practice. 100 hours of supervised observation will be completed at Montessori Northwest during the summer class sessions and will be arranged by the training center. During this time, students undertake supervised practice, working with children in our model environments for infants and toddlers. Students will make their own arrangements for the remaining 150 hours of observation during the intervening academic year.

In addition to the creation of teaching manuals, students also learn important professional skills such as working with and supporting parents; assessing the different stages of movement, language, and personality development; and deciding how and when to present activities and materials.

Comprehensive written and oral examinations at the end of the second summer verify that each student has met the standards of the Association Montessori Internationale.


View the MNW Assistants to Infancy School Performance Fact Sheet PDF

View the MNW Job Classifications Reference Sheet PDF

MNW offers a unique student experience that embodies Montessori principles applied to adult education. One essential principle is taking responsibility for your own learning. By preparing yourself in the following ways, you will be positioned for success in the course.

Time management

An AMI training course can present a demanding schedule. Assistants to Infancy students are in class from 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and many students arrive early and stay late for additional practice. You can expect to spend an additional 2-4 hours per day on your work outside of class time, as well as extra time on weekends. To prepare yourself for success in the course, structure your commitments to allow you ample time and energy for your coursework. Consider how your commute may affect your schedule.


In order to stay on track, skills in organization and attention to detail are important; lapses in organization can make the course stressful. You will need to manage several assignments at once. Consider the systems you will use to help you track your work and stay organized. This may also include how to structure files and folders on your computer and organizing your home workspace.

Employment during the course

We do not recommend that students work during their summers at MNW. The workload of the course is demanding, and will make it challenging for you to have a job.

Use of technology

Students take notes by hand during the course lectures and demonstrations. Laptops, tablets, and mobile devices are not allowed in the classroom during class time. You should prepare for extensive handwritten note-taking. Laptops and other devices may be used on breaks and outside of class time.

A reliable computer and color printer are essential, as the vast majority of coursework will be typed. Neat and consistent formatting is expected, requiring proficient use of a word processing program such as Word, Pages, or Google Drive. We recommend that you learn how to insert photos and images into documents.

Reliable and regular back-up of your computer is essential. Consider using an online back-up service to make sure your work is safe.

Communication in the Course

MNW staff communicate with students via email, social networking (primarily Facebook), and online data storage systems. You will need access to a reliable Gmail account (to access Google Drive), internet access, and familiarity with downloading and storing files.


[View the Assistants to Infancy Book Order Form PDF]

What books will I have to buy?

Our Book Order form is divided into three categories: required books, recommended books, and related books. Students should purchase all required books before or shortly after starting the course. Books are available for purchase at MNW, in limited supply. Books may also be available through other sources such as and Please take careful note of any required translations.

Supplies and Materials

Students will receive specific guidance about exact requirements, but all students will need these items to start:

  • Computer, printer, and internet access
  • Ample note-taking supplies (ie: large multi-subject notebooks and writing utensils)
  • Printer paper

What are the costs?

Costs vary depending on supplier and thriftiness of the student. For students on a budget, Portland has many alternatives to office supply stores, such as Goodwill and Scrap.

The creation of Montessori materials and activities is a large component of the course. Supplies can include fabric, thread, and craft paper. We also suggest a set of color pencils. Water-color pencils are often preferred. These can be purchased from various locations and again can be found at various price points.

Students can expect to spend between $800 and $1500 on office and material supplies throughout the course.


Tuition and Fees

Bay Area Part-Time/Block Format
More information available Fall 2016

Portland Summer Format
Early Admissions Date: February 15, 2016
Application fee: $25
Enrollment fee: $75 if application is received on or before February 15, 2016; $125 if received after February 15, 2016.
Tuition: $10,500
Exam Fee: $350

Course-Related Expenses: Students should budget between $800 and $1500 for books, stationery supplies, and material making costs.


Financial Aid

Loyola University M.Ed Program
Montessori Northwest has a cooperative program with Loyola University Maryland. Students participatind in this M.Ed. option are eligible for finncial aid to cover both the MNW diploma course as well as the Masters credits. Please contact MNW admission for more details at
Loyola Financial Aid Office For general questions and comments, e-mail
Phone: (410) 617-2576
Toll-free: (800) 221-9107
Fax: (410) 617-5149

MES Fund
The Margaret Elizabeth Stephenson (MES) Fund is administered by AMI-USA. To apply for this financial aid candidates must first be accepted into an AMI Course. The AMI-USA office must receive applications by May 1st. Visit the AMI-USA website for more information.

Veterans Education Benefits
MNW is proud to have the opportunity to help Veterans utilize their VA Educational Benefits. For more information please contact our Admissions Director, Andrea, at

School Sponsorships
Sponsorships for AMI teacher education are available. Students can find more information and a school listing on the AMI-USA website.


Students in the Assistants to Infancy course have the option of simultaneously participating in our cooperative degree program. This program is available at the graduate level: a Master’s Degree in Montessori Education program through Loyola University Maryland. This cooperative program allows the student to receive credits towards the cooperative program for academic work completed at Montessori Northwest. In a typical year, at least half of our students are enrolled in this program. Participation in this program also allows qualifying students to apply for federal financial aid (see section Financial Aid).

Master of Education and Certificate of Advanced Study in Montessori Education (C.A.S.) Option through Loyola University Maryland

Loyola University Maryland offers the M.Ed. degree in Montessori Education and the Certificate of Advanced Study in Education (C.A.S.), in affiliation with Montessori Northwest. Students must apply to both MNW and Loyola University Maryland. If admitted into Loyola’s graduate program, enrolled students earn credit for courses they are taking at MNW and complete the degree requirements with course work taken in residence at Loyola.

Application Deadlines for Loyola University Maryland:

For MNW courses that begin in summer, priority application deadline for Loyola is May 15.

For MNW courses that follow the academic year format and begin in September, priority deadline for Loyola is August 15.

For more information and application materials, please visit Loyola University's website


Transfer Undergraduate Credits

For MNW Assistants to Infancy diploma holders, 32 upper-division credits will be applied towards the self-designed concentration requirements of the Bachelor of Arts degreee with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies at Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Oregon (Located 10 minutes south of Portland, OR).

For more information please contact the Office of Admissions, Marylhurst University
Phone: (503) 699-6268
Toll-free: (800)634-9982, ext. 6268
Fax: (503) 635-6585
TTY: (503) 636-6303/

For admissions information, please visit Marylhurst University Admissions