AMI Primary (3-6) diploma course 

Children of three-to-six years explore the world through their hands and their senses, constructing themselves from their experiences in their environment. Our MACTE accredited AMI Primary training provides you with the knowledge to gently guide young children in their social, emotional, and intellectual growth during this important and exciting period of development.

2016-2017 PRIMARY COURSE INFORMATION - Please note we are no longer accepting applications for this course. Please check back soon for upcoming course information!


  Ginni Sackett (Bio)
  Sarah Werner Andrews (Bio)


  Format: Academic Year
  Course Dates: Sept. 6, 2016 - June 5, 2017
  Schedule: Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 2:30pm
  Location: Portland, Oregon (map)


  Application Fee: $25
  Enrollment Fee: $125
  Tuition: $11,900*
  *Includes exam fee and one year membership to AMI NAMTA


View the MNW Primary Course 42 (Portland, Three Summers) Student Handbook 2015-2017 PDF

View the MNW Primary Course 40 (Portland, Academic Year) Student Handbook 2015-2016 PDF

View the MNW Primary Course 43 (San Francisco, Block/Part-Time) Student Handbook 2015-2017 PDF

Course Description

The Primary Course offers a comprehensive study of Montessori theory and practice for individuals who aspire to work with children in Montessori primary environments (ages three to six). During 850 hours of teacher preparation, students thoroughly explore Montessori philosophy, human development, Montessori primary materials and curriculum, and expectations for Montessori professional communities.

Students in the Primary Course engage deeply with Montessori theory topics, which create the foundation for a Montessori teacher’s work and are constant reference points for the student’s understanding. Topics focus on early childhood development, educational theory, practical implementation, and classroom management from the Montessori perspective.

The Montessori classroom for three to six year old children contains a large variety of materials for the development of coordination, the senses, life skills, literacy, and mathematical understanding. Opportunities for imaginative exploration abound, leading to confident, creative self-expression. Children achieve these developments through learning materials, games, and activities presented by the teacher. Students in the Primary Course will learn these presentations, as well as how to foster a child’s functional independence, task persistence, and self-regulation, and how to promote positive social development through respectful, clear communication and safe natural and logical consequence.

Academic requirements

Students in the Primary Course explore Montessori theory through lectures and discussions lead by experienced teacher trainers, reading and writing assignments, and personal reflection. Reading seminars are scheduled throughout the year to help students engage with Montessori’s writings. During these seminars students engage in group discussions stimulated by a series of questions or discussion points related to the target reading.

Students learn how to present the Montessori materials and activities to children by observing demonstrations from the trainers and through supervised practice in our model classroom (without children). From these experiences, students create five teaching manuals, or albums, to guide their work with children - theory, practical life (life skills), sensory development, language, and mathematics. Students also create samples of Montessori materials to demonstrate their ability to apply the principles of Montessori material design to their own classrooms.

Observation and practice teaching are essential components of the course, and allow students to continue their study of the child in AMI Montessori host classrooms. During observation, students spend a minimum of 90 hours observing the children’s interactions with the materials and each other. During practice teaching, students spend a minimum of 120 hours in their host classroom, presenting lessons to children under the supervision of an AMI primary-trained host teacher. Please note that during academic year courses, observation and practice teaching are organized by the training center and are completed during pre-scheduled times within the course year. For students enrolled in a summer format course, observation and practice teaching are organized by the student and completed between summers during the intervening academic years.

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


View the MNW Primary School Performance Fact Sheet PDF

View the MNW Job Classification Reference Sheet PDF

As a student at MNW, you will contribute to a dynamic community of inspired and motivated individuals. MNW offers a unique student experience that embodies Montessori principles applied to adult education. An essential Montessori principle is taking responsibility for your own learning, and 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. Academic Year Primary students are in class full time, Monday to Friday, and many students arrive early and stay late for additional practice. Students can expect to spend an additional 2-4 hours per day on work outside of class time, as well as extra time on weekends. To prepare for success in the course, structure your commitments to allow ample time and energy for 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. Courses are delivered in an integrated, non-linear manner; 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.

Observation and Practice Teaching

Observation and practice teaching are essential components of the course. During academic year courses, these components are organized by the training center and are completed during pre-scheduled times within the course year. Most students are placed in host schools in the Portland area, but also have the option of completing observation and practice teaching in locations outside the Portland area. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the host school (which may not be close to your home), and your daily schedule will be affected. For students enrolled in a summer format course, observation and practice teaching must be organized by the student and completed between summers during the intervening academic years.

Employment during the course

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

Use of technology

Students take notes by hand during the course lectures, discussions, and demonstrations. Laptops, tablets, and mobile devices are not used 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. Unauthorized recording is not permitted.

A reliable computer and color printer are essential, as the vast majority of coursework will be typed from handwritten class notes. Neat and consistent formatting is expected, requiring proficient use of a word processing program such as Word 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 email account, internet access, and familiarity with downloading and storing files.


[View the Primary 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 starting the course. Books are available for pre-order and purchase at MNW. 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)
  • Copy 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 significant component of the course. Supplies can include crafting supplies and stationery. 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

Academic Year
Early Admissions Date: March 15, 2015
Application fee: $25
Enrollment fee: $75 if application is received on or before March 15, 2015; $125 if received after March 15, 2015.
Tuition: $11,600

Three Summer Format
Early Admissions Date: March 15, 2015
Application fee: $25
Enrollment fee: $75 if application is received on or before March 15, 2015; $125 if received after March 15, 2015.
Tuition: $11,600
Exam Fee: $350

Bay Area Part-Time/Block Format
Early Admissions Date: March 15, 2015
Application fee: $25
Enrollment fee: $75 if application is received on or before March 15, 2015; $125 if received after March 15, 2015.
Tuition: $13,250
Exam Fee: $350

Various payment options are available. Please contact us for more information.

Course-Related Expenses: Students should budget between $800 to $1500 to cover books, stationery supplies, transportation to and from observation and practice teaching host school, and material making costs.



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 Primary 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



For MNW Primary diploma holders, 38 upper-division credits may be applied in partial satisfaction of the major and/or general electives of the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Human Studies or Psychology or of the self-designed concentration requirements of the Bachelor of Arts degree 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