What is the difference between AMS and AMI Montessori?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

AMS (American Montessori Society) and AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) are two separate organizations that offer Montessori teacher training and certification. While both organizations are rooted in the principles and philosophy of Maria Montessori, there are some differences in their approaches and emphasis.

1. Philosophy: Both AMS and AMI adhere to the core principles of Montessori education, such as respect for the child, individualized learning, and the importance of the prepared environment. However, AMI tends to be more purist in its interpretation of Montessori principles, following Maria Montessori’s original teachings closely. AMS, on the other hand, allows for some adaptation and integration of contemporary educational practices.

2. Curriculum: In terms of curriculum, AMS and AMI differ in their focus. AMI-trained teachers generally place a greater emphasis on classic Montessori curricular approaches, particularly in the areas of science and history. They use Montessori materials and follow the sequential learning process prescribed by Maria Montessori. AMS credentialed teachers may be more supportive of traditional educational practices, such as giving children due dates, administering spelling tests, and assigning research groups. They may also incorporate more technology and contemporary resources into the classroom.

3. Training and Certification: Both AMS and AMI offer comprehensive Montessori teacher training programs, but there are some differences in the certification process. AMI certification is globally recognized and follows a standardized curriculum and assessment system. AMS certification is also widely accepted, but it allows for more flexibility in terms of training content and assessment methods. It is important to note that the certification requirements may vary between different training centers affiliated with AMS or AMI.

4. Support and Resources: AMS and AMI provide support and resources for Montessori educators, but their offerings may differ. AMI offers a more centralized approach, with a global network of affiliated training centers and a standardized approach to Montessori education. AMS, on the other hand, emphasizes a more localized support system, with regional chapters and a focus on professional development opportunities for its members.

It is worth mentioning that the differences between AMS and AMI Montessori are not necessarily absolute, and there can be variations within each organization. Some teachers may integrate elements from both approaches, adapting their practice to the specific needs of their students and the context in which they work.

In my personal experience as a Montessori educator, I have encountered teachers from both AMS and AMI backgrounds. While there are differences in their approaches, I have found that the most effective educators are those who prioritize the needs and development of the child above any specific organization or method. Ultimately, the goal of Montessori education is to foster independent, lifelong learners, and this can be achieved through a combination of Montessori principles and contemporary educational practices.