The Montessori method of teaching can be applied to students at any level or age group, but is usually incorporated in toddler through kindergarten classrooms. Many preschool programs are Montessori-based; the children graduate and move on to traditional classrooms. Montessori teachers and assistant teachers receive special training in the Montessori method.
Assistant teachers make less than head teachers. Assistant teachers are usually paid an hourly wage, and might not be offered benefits. Assistant Montessori teachers make $10 to $15 per hour, depending upon experience and the school in which they teach.
Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She was an exceptional student, and after many years of persistence, she was awarded her doctor of medicine degree in 1896. At the time, it was unheard of for women to become doctors. Her work with children in institutions led her to develop the Montessori method of teaching.
The Montessori method is based on the idea that children learn naturally at their own pace. If left to their own devices, children will absorb information from their surroundings. Montessori teachers set up their classrooms with a variety of "work stations." Children choose what "job" they wish to work on during the school day. Ideally, the Montessori teacher follows the child's lead, and is there to answer questions, help when needed, and offer guidance.
Montessori training programs typically last two years. Some students have an associate or bachelor of arts degree from a college or university, but it is not usually required. A Montessori certificate indicates the teacher has taken child development and early child education courses, as well as has experience observing in the classroom.