Montessori Assistant Teacher: Job Duties and Requirements

Future child care assistants seeking to work in a unique educational setting may consider a position as a Montessori teaching assistant. This system emphasizes a child-initiated learning process and non-competitive activities. Applicants who demonstrate a thorough understanding of the Montessori method by completing one or more Montessori teacher training courses or teaching assistant workshops will increase their job opportunities.

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Requirements

Montessori teaching assistant training is a cost-effective option for those considering a career in the Montessori educational system. Minimum course requirements for the teaching assistant position vary by state and by school. While all Montessori schools do mandate state requirements for child care jobs, such as courses in health and safety, most require that the prospective assistant also complete Montessori training.

Because the system is specific to the Montessori teaching philosophy, both the teacher training courses and any teaching assistant preparation are generally completed through the Montessori schools or training centers. A limited number of colleges also offer Montessori-accredited courses through their education departments. Coursework for the assistantship is generally completed in 1-2 semesters.

Prerequisites

Requirements for admittance to the teaching assistant course or workshop include a minimum of a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and proficiency in English. The prospective assistant may choose to specialize in child care at one of three levels: infancy (birth to three years of age), primary (3-6 years of age) or elementary (6-12 years of age). Some schools may also hire assistants for middle school or high school aged children. Experience with the relevant age group is desired. Some hiring schools may require previous child care work experience.

Job Duties

The teaching assistants work cohesively with the lead teachers. The job duties range from organizing materials and cleaning the work space to facilitating the learning process for each child. Assistants for school-age children may also be required to administer and grade assignments. All assistants are expected to support the Montessori teaching method. Specifically, they must help guide the child through self-directed activities, allowing the child to develop at his or her own pace. They are expected to foster, along with the lead teachers, a nurturing and stimulating non-competitive environment.

Earnings and Salary Information

The Montessori 2011 salary survey indicated an average hourly wage of $14.21-$16.08 for assistants (www.montessori-ami.org). The salary will vary depending on the age level chosen and the location of the school. In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 9% employment increase for teacher assistant jobs in general, through 2022.

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