Jul 26, 2012
New college-based credential program first to focus on special needs children
SALT LAKE CITY - Westminster College has developed a Montessori teacher education program to meet a demand for advanced degrees in the Montessori approach. The program offers authentic Montessori training that emphasizes inclusive education and incorporates a strong arts component.
This summer, Westminster began the Institute for Montessori Innovation with 33 students enrolled in an intensive 8-week course, to be followed by a year of student teaching. It is the first opportunity for students to earn a Montessori credential through a college or university in Utah, and it is the state's only Montessori track to a Master of Education.
"There is a shortage of quality trained Montessori teachers not only in Utah and the U.S. but internationally," said Michael Dorer, director of the Institute for Montessori Innovation. "While Montessori has proven effective for both gifted and challenged students, there's never been a credential course like ours to include special needs training."
The Montessori classroom, originally based on an Italian physician's observations of childhood development, focuses on active learning and allows each student to develop at an individual pace.
The Institute for Montessori Innovation's credential program instructs teachers in this traditional Montessori approach with emphasis on special needs and a strong arts component. Students who complete the one-year program earn a credential at the early childhood or lower elementary level. The credential is also available as a track of Westminster's Master of Education program. Westminster is the only institution in Utah and one of very few in the nation to offer a master's degree with a Montessori credential.
"The program's faculty are renowned Montessori educators who add extensive experience to Westminster's distinctive reputation," said Dr. Robert Shaw, dean of Westminster's School of Education. "Westminster thanks the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for the generous gift that made this opportunity available for Montessori teachers and the college."