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.


Click on your preferred course format for details...

Academic: portland

Director of Training

Sarah Werner Andrews, M.Ed. (Bio)


Michelle Becka, M.Ed. (Bio)


Academic Year 2018 - 2019

Course Dates

September 4, 2018 - June 5, 2019

Daily Schedule

Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 2:30pm


Portland, Oregon
Note: All courses are contingent upon the required minimum number of students

Academic: Bay Area

Primary Trainer

Polli Soholt, M.Ed. (Bio)


Academic Year 2018 - 2019

Course Dates

August 29, 2018 - June 15, 2019

Daily Schedule

Monday to Friday, 1:00pm - 6:00pm


Day Star Montessori , Milpitas, California
Note: All courses are contingent upon the required minimum number of students

Summer: Portland-In Session

Director of Training

Michelle Becka, M.Ed. (Bio)


Sarah Werner Andrews, M.Ed. (Bio)


Summers 2018, 2019, 2020

Course Dates

Summer 2018
June 13 - July 27, 2018
Summer 2019
June 12 - July 26, 2019
Summer 2020
June 10 - July 26, 2020

Daily Schedule

Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm


Portland, Oregon
Note: All courses are contingent upon the required minimum number of students



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 Portland Primary Course Academic Year Student Handbook 2018-2019 PDF

View the MNW Milpitas Primary Course Academic Year Student Handbook 2018-2019 PDF

View the MNW Portland Primary Summer Course Student Handbook 2018-2020 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 MNW Primary School Performance Fact Sheet PDF

View the MNW Job Classification Reference Sheet PDF


What books will I have to buy?

If you are attending a Portland area course, the required books for your course are covered by your new student materials fee. There are additional books that are recommended, some of which are available for your purchase at MNW.

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

2017-2018 Academic Year: Portland
Application Fee: $150
Materials Fee: $400
Tuition: $12,000 - Includes exam fees

2018, 2019, 2020 Three Summer Format: Portland
Application Fee: $150
Materials Fee: $400
Tuition: $12,000
Exam Fee: $350

2018-2019 Academic Year Format: Milpitas, CA
Application Fee: $150
Tuition: $12,000
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.



Montessori Northwest offers scholarships to those who have already applied and been accepted to a course offered by Montessori Northwest. Visit MNW Scholarship Funds to learn more.


Loyola University
Montessori Northwest has a cooperative program with Loyola University Maryland. Students participating in this M.Ed. option are eligible for financial aid to cover both the MNW diploma course as well as the Masters credits. Please contact MNW admission for more details at For general questions and comments, contact the Loyola Financial Aid Office at or (800) 221-9107

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 Angelika in our Admissions Department at

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

M.ED. Options


Students in the Portland 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’s partnership with (insert your Institution here) provides students with the opportunity to complete a M.Ed. degree in conjunction with the AMI diploma. If accepted into the Graduate School at Loyola, students earn 27 credits through the completion of their Primary, Elementary or A-to-I AMI diplomas. The final 9 credits are completed in a 4-week intensive experience in residence at Loyola University Maryland’s Evergreen Campus in Baltimore.

For more information on Admission Requirements and Application Deadlines, please visit and navigate to the “Off-Site Partner” tab under Program Options, or Attend a Virtual Information Session .

A surprise during practice...