Early Childhood (3-6) Career Pro Certification Course

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You will earn an Authentic Institute of Montessori Teaching Certificate

Course Overview

This online course delivers a complete understanding of Montessori education. During your online study, you will delve deeply into the philosophy and psychology that is the heart of the Montessori Method and Message. In addition to this Online Academic portion of the course, you will complete a 3-week in person residency and a 9 month internship at a school of your choice.
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AIM's Early Childhood Online Academic course covers a comprehensive range of topics:

1. Online Environment: Emphasizes the natural learning process through environmental experiences.
2. Course Introduction: Discusses the child's activity as vital to their development.
3. Preparation of the Teacher - Personal Reflection: Focuses on self-study as crucial for educators.
4. Maria Montessori - A Short Biography: Explores Montessori's philosophy and goals in education.
5. Human Tendencies, Sensitive Periods, and the Brain: Addresses the importance of respecting and understanding child activities.
6. Practical Life: Highlights the importance of practical activities in adaptation to the environment.
7. History of Methods: Compares Montessori's methods with other early childhood education theories.
8. Sensorial Development: Discusses the teacher's role in fostering cultural activity.
9. Stages of Development: Outlines the stages of child development and independence.
10. Prepared Environment: Emphasizes the teacher's role in creating an effective learning environment.
11. Development of Language: Explores language development as a natural process.
12. Liberty and Discipline: Examines the balance between freedom and discipline in learning.
13. Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind: Focuses on foundational mathematical concepts.
14. Movement, Mental Assimilation, and the Work of the Child: Discusses the relationship between physical movement, mental development, and child labor.
15. Normalization through Work: Explores how work contributes to normalization in children.
16. Spiritual Preparation of the Teacher: Emphasizes the spiritual aspects of the educator's role.
17. Wrapping Up Peacefully: Concludes the course with a focus on peaceful closure and reflection.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of Montessori education, emphasizing the holistic development of children and the role of educators in this process.


Course contents

Meet the Instructors:

Karen Walton

AIM Program Director

Karen is AIM's Program Director.  She has been working at AIM since 2018 as the Level Coordinator for Early Childhood, Internship Coordinator and Residency Instructor.  Before that, she owned & taught at her own Montessori school in rural Montana. She has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, an Early Childhood certificate and a Master's of Education in Advanced Montessori. Karen is newly certified in American Sign Language. 

She has taught music in the public-school sector in addition to teaching in Montessori classrooms since 2007 both in Rhode Island and Montana. At AIM, she works with interns, observes Montessori classrooms, and participates in webinars. 

When she is not working, she can be found gardening, trail running and cooking. She enjoys long walks with her dog, Jax and camping trips with her husband. 

Erin Lanigan

Early Childhood Faculty

Erin earned her M.Ed. in Integrative Education with an emphasis on Montessori from Endicott College, and she holds a BA in English Literature from Carroll College. She also holds an AIM Montessori diploma for ages 3-6 and a North American Montessori Center diploma for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos.

She has lectured widely both nationally and internationally for more than 15 years on multiple topics relating to children and education. She owned and operated a private Montessori school in Helena, Montana, directing the physical and curricular expansion of the school from a preschool serving ages 3-6 to a program that served infants through elementary.

Erin also has an extensive background as an education consultant, as the creator of multiple successful small businesses, and as an executive director for an educational nonprofit.

In addition to her personal projects and work at Authentic Institute of Montessori, Erin serves as the Idaho STEM Ecosystem Hub Coordinator for Educational Regions 1 and 2, fostering the integration of STEM experiences for Idahoans.

Although her very favorite thing to do is spend time adventuring with her husband, three teenage children, three rescue dogs and kitten, if given a few moments alone, you would likely find her reading, or playing the piano or viola.

kind words from students

Our students love our
approach to learning

"It was wonderful. The online learning made it possible for me to juggle between my study and my family and my work. It is making learning accessible. The self-pace learning was wonderful, it allowed me to schedule the study time to fit our busy life. I got to learn so much...”
-Course Graduate
“This course was perfect! I'm the Office Manager and Director of Admissions at a Montessori school, it is really important to me to understand the method very well as one of the main parts of my job when working with admissions is to explain about the Montessori method to families who are new to it...”
-Course Graduate
“I love how Mary Ellen is so enthusiastic when she talks about Montessori. It made the whole PD enjoyable! I'm so glad that I learned more about the Montessori method and what is going on inside the classrooms...”
-Course Graduate

“In order to meet the needs of our children, we must first understand them.”

– Mary Ellen Maunz, founder Authentic institute of Montessori