An increasing number of parents are seeking Montessori education for their children, with reports of “exploding popularity” and “skyrocketing demand.”
One Catholic university, the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, is seeking to meet the need for more Montessori educators with a new online master’s degree program specifically for Catholic Montessori education.
“The formation of our degree came from discussions with leaders in Catholic Montessori schools,” said Brenda Tufte, associate dean and director of the Liffrig Family School of Education and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Mary.
“They identified a need for more teachers with comprehensive preparation in education, deep understanding of Montessori methods, and a strong commitment to Catholic values and teachings,” she explained.
The Montessori method of education was founded by Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor who was a devout Catholic. An emphasis on the dignity of the child is closely united with Catholic teachings on the dignity of the human person, so for many Catholic schools, Montessori education makes a lot of sense.
“Equipping teachers with a deep understanding of the Catholic faith and the effective Montessori methods that bring joy and wonder to teaching and learning can help Catholic education to grow and students to flourish,” Tufte said.
Indeed, some Catholic schools report a big boom in enrollment after switching to a Montessori method of education.
An online program for Montessori educators
Students in the program are able to attain national certification in Montessori education, as well as a Master of Education degree in Catholic Montessori. The Catholic roots of Montessori education are covered, as well as formation in Catholic anthropology and Catholic education.
The program is specifically designed for those with a bachelor’s degree and some Montessori training already. It accepts as prior-learning credits certification from the Association Montessori International (AMI), American Montessori Society (AMS), or Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).
Teachers who have already earned the rigorous Montessori certification can apply those credits to this program, dramatically reducing their cost and time-to-completion in half to three semesters and only 16 credits needed to fulfill the degree.
At the same time, program administrators are willing to meet students where they are and work with them to complete the program.
“Students may contact us anytime to co-plan an individualized program of study at a pace that works for them and in a modality that meets their needs,” Tufte said. “The program can be done completely online or in a blended format for those who prefer in-person learning.”
The program is totally online, with an option to take a one-to-two-week John Henry Newman course in-person, on campus during the summer. The University of Mary also offers a Catholic Educator’s Scholarship for current Catholic school teachers who wish to enroll.