A little about you:
I first learned about Montessori only a year before I applied to MNW. At the time I was a new father and hearing about the method greatly piqued my interest. I read a few of Maria Montessori's books and was blown away. I told my wife this was something I had to do. I applied to MNW after reading that many people come to Montessori with no background in early childhood education - I had coached a youth soccer team and was a father, that's all.
Describe the course workload:
As a father of two young children I had to divide my time between family and school - leaving little room for anything else. I was prepared for that and thought I was prepared for the work load I was assured was intense. It turned out to be more intense than any other schooling I had previous, including a creative writing graduate program and the Peace Corps! The teacher training program literally has students working with the theory and techniques every day and most evenings. The result is that we learn it all very well.
How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
I feel prepared, which is an amazing feeling. I mean, having no real knowledge 9 months ago to feeling this confident is fantastic. Of course this means I know these first few years in the Casa will be challenging - I think if it as the next phase of training. But I am ready for it. How to explain...ah, well I could talk your ear off about the method and you would probably leave impressed and convinced that my training was legit.
Did you enjoy your training at MNW?
Hard to explain how much I enjoyed it. Let me say that having to say farewell to my comrades was very hard. We were able to build a real culture as we shared the experience of transformation, which is what one does to become a teacher of this kind, transforms. The staff were our guides in this journey. Both trainers are confident and knowledgeable - I am sure we have one of the best programs in the country. Ginni is experienced is always learning more, starting at the forefront of Montessori today. Sarah brings with her priceless knowledge of the Montessori elementary program, which she taught for a number of years. She showed us connections from the Primary material to the Elementary. This knowledge reminds us to look at the big picture.
What were some unexpected challenges?
I knew we were going to create our own albums - the collections of theory and activities we will use in the classroom - but I did not realize what a task that would be. It literally means many, many hours spent outside the class typing and organizing.
What were some unexpected highlights?
I did not foresee the great relationships that formed, with classmates and staff. It spurred me on and convinced me that if so many great people were doing this too then we must be doing something right. Also, the transformation I and many others went through turned out to be more dramatic than I expected. I was presented with the right environment to really grow into this role as guide, not only as a teacher in a classroom but as a human being as well.
Would you recommend this course to others?
Without question. I would emphasize that like anything if you want something you're gonna have to work for it. One would do best not to come into this half-heartedly. The results, though, will make it all worthwhile.
Any advice for incoming students?
Read up on the method. Prepare to set one or two extra hobbies aside just for a bit. Keep the essentials. Ask questions when you are unsure. Don't procrastinate if you can help it. And during the winter break plan on getting some sun - go to California for a few days.