What is the Orientation to Adolescent Studies?

The AMI/NAMTA Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies provides an overview of essential Montessori principles and background information necessary to meet the developmental needs of adolescents. Lecturers, presenters, and practitioners include AMI trainers and AMI trained practitioners with extensive experience in the field of Montessori adolescent work. Faculty advisors individually assist course participants to reach an understanding of Montessori theory and practices and to help them apply those principles to their own community, location, and circumstances. Participants can shape their specialized backgrounds (in math, science, humanities) as part of a total Montessori vision, allowing them to design an adolescent program that addresses their unique combinations of students, faculty, site, and administration at their schools.

Those students who complete the course requirements will receive a NAMTA/AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies Certificate.

Prior AMI Montessori training at the early childhood or elementary levels will enhance the orientation experience but is not a prerequisite.

Course Elements

Participants of the orientation course will learn Montessori theory through both lectures and hands-on activities. Throughout the orientation, participants will experience the art of the seminar, journal writing, and applications of the three-period lesson design (1. presentation, 2. exploration, and 3. student presentation). Analysis of Montessori primary texts will emphasize the key tenets of Montessori philosophy.

An important part of the orientation is to experience the life of the adolescent: their studies, their practical work, their community life, their growing need for independence, and their need to work side-by-side with adults. Through time spent in the prepared environment, participants will explore this need for independence and an awareness of human interdependence, both of which become concretely realized and internalized in Montessori adolescent communities that genuinely provide a “school of experience in the elements of social life.”

Participants will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of both Montessori principles and methodology as well as an understanding of the psychology behind adolescent development. They will write papers explaining theoretical principles, discuss readings of Montessori’s writing (as well as the writing of others), produce a lexicon of key Montessori terms, and design frameworks for study and work that are appropriate for their own community of adolescents. Finally they will synthesize their understanding and generate a record of course presentations by compiling an “album” representing the whole course of study for future use and reference. 

I have heard there is a plan for an AMI Adolescent Diploma Training. What is happening?

The Adolescent Initiative has been led by an Executive Study Team from AMI which is acting as an advisory and pedagogical review board of the current Orientation.

Through surveys of current adolescent programs, assessment of current teacher preparation, site visits, deep dive events and colloquia, the Adolescent Initiative will develop frameworks for ideal learning environments for adolescents. 

Based upon this initial research and review of the adolescent orientation, the initiative will establish an AMI diploma course.

See below for a timeline graphic of this process, you can also learn more at www.Montessoriadolescent.org.


2019 Orientation Locations:

*Tuition for the Orientation is $6,000, plus a $25 application fee. Lodging costs are variable.

Please click on an orientation location below to view details!

Adolescent_Initiative_Timeline copy-01.jpg

What will be the format of the diploma training?

The AMI Adolescent Diploma Training will be offered beginning in the summer of 2020. The training will be offered in a two-summer format. The first summer will be modeled on the current Orientation to Adolescent Studies, providing a theoretical and practical foundation for the work at the adolescent level. The second summer will provide deeper practical exploration of theory and subject learning.

But I already completed my Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Is my certificate still valid?

Yes! Alumni of the Orientation will have the option to apply their Orientation certificate to the first summer of the diploma training, and register just for the second summer in order to earn an AMI adolescent diploma.  

History of the Orientation

Since 1976, in collaboration with practitioners in the Montessori adolescent movement, the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association, NAMTA, has provided documentation, leadership, and guidance in consolidating Montessori adolescent education and programs, establishing a strong heritage of best practices through evolving school programs. The Orientation to Adolescent Studies is one of the programs incubated, implemented and refined under NAMTA’s guidance.

In 2010, the Association Montessori Internationale agreed to an evolving relationship with the NAMTA Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. This relationship has allowed for the preservation and propagation of adolescent research and practice within the context of AMI-approved teacher education, and the Orientation was renamed as the AMI/NAMTA Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies.


Need more info? Contact Robin Miller (robin@greatworkinc.org or (720) 572-1500) and join our mailing list
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Education is a work of self-organization by which man adapts himself to the conditions of life.
— Maria Montessori