AMI in New Zealand

I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening dedication ceremony for the new AMI Training Center in Auckland on Friday, June 26, 2009.  The result of several years of concentrated and diligent effort by the trustees of the Maria Montessori Education Foundation, the Primary level course will be instructed by Cheryl Ferreira a senior member of the Maria Montessori Training Organisation staff in England, U.K.

The ceremony was simple and meaningful, which suited the environment of the Quaker Meeting House that will be home to the training course this year.  Much of the ceremony was in Maori including songs and recitations. 

I want to share this interesting offering from the MMEF course described on the MMEF Blog

Study the theory-only component of the AMI 3-6 Course . . .
MMEF recently invited Montessori school owners, administrators and trustees to study the theory–only component of the AMI 3-6 Course as an underpinning to their centre’s philosophy, policies and practice. This is essentially the first 4 week module between June 29th and 24th July plus the occasional day throughout the course.
If you know of anyone within your school that this may be particularly relevant for, please email mmef@ihug.co.nz for more details.

I think this is a wonderful idea and I hope that all training centers offer this to the public.  Given the long term benefits of administrators and owners versed in Montessori theory it is my hope that this is provided free of charge, though I have not inquired directly.

I also wanted to discuss the modular format of the course, described thusly on the MMEF website…

The course will consist of 7 contact modules in 2009 and 2010 (see details below). These contact modules will average 4 weeks in duration (9:00 am – 4:30 pm), scheduled within the New Zealand school holidays and a week on either side. Students will return to their own schools in between contact modules to put into practice what they have learnt.

There will also be a minimum of 10 weeks of Observation and Teaching Practice to be completed in classrooms designated by the Director of Training and in accordance with AMI specifications.

The dates of the contact modules are:

Contact Module 1
29th June – 24th July 2009 (4 weeks)

Contact Module 2
21st Sept – 16th October 2009 (4 weeks)

Contact Module 3
4th – 29th January 2010 (4 weeks)

Contact Module 4
6th – 16th April 2010 (almost 2 weeks)

Contact Module 5
28th June – 23rd July 2010 (4 weeks)

Contact Module 6
20th Sept – 15th October 2010 (4 weeks)

Contact Module 7
10th – 21st January 2011 (2 weeks ic. ORAL EXAMS)

This is a format I have never seen before and may have been created specifically for New Zealand.  The NZ school calendar is composed of 4 school terms (approximately 10 weeks each) separated by 2 week term breaks.  As the New Zealand summer is in December, the longer summer break aligns with the holidays, unlike the Unites States which typically has a long break in December and June/July/August.  The US school calendar is composed of 4 quarters (approximately 9 weeks each) so comparatively, NZ children attend 4 more weeks of school than in the US.  The 3 Summer course option offered at many training centers in the United States is simply not possible in New Zealand because the only long break is also the holiday break.

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