Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – Birth to Seven

(Early Years Educator) Level 3 & Level 4

Building on our legacy of quality Montessori training, and as part of our mission to offer Montessori training that is relevant to the 21st century, MCI redeveloped the long-established Diploma to meet the nationally set Early Years Educator requirements, putting Montessori training on the National Qualifications Framework for the first time. On completion of the course you will be awarded a NCFE/Cache Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy- birth to seven (Early Years Educator) qualification at Level 3 or Level 4. 

We have developed a blended learning approach using our innovative Virtual Learning Environment to support an international community of over 400 learners. You can study weekly at our MCI London College, or at one of our approved External Centre Sub-sites. Alternatively you can study online from your own home and attend an Apparatus Workshop selected from a range of locations across the UK and internationally.

We warmly invite you to join our vibrant international community of Montessori learners.

In Brief

  • Blended Learning: study part-time one day per week at MCI London
  • or online plus your choice of workshop 
  • Complete within 2 years
  • Includes Professional Placement
  • Nationally recognised qualification
  • Option to progress on to a Foundation Degree
  • Study at Level 3 or Level 4
  • Courses start in September & April

Upcoming open evenings

Find out more at our next open event

Saturday 8 June – 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Book your free place here

Why choose the Diploma?

  • Respected and trusted by the Montessori community

  • Link theory to practice on Professional Placement

  • Be inspired by our team of Montessori specialists

What will I study?

Course Content

The course combines 13 units of study with  400 hours  of practical experience with children on  Professional Placement.

01 –  Montessori Philosophy:

This unit introduces key principles and practice of the Montessori approach including the historical context. You learn how Montessori s theories are applied in the Montessori classroom by exploring stages of development, the favourable environment and the role of the Montessori teacher.

02 – Study Skills:

This unit will offer you practical ways to help you develop effective study skills. That includes how to source, organise, reference and present information as well as how to engage with self-reflective practice. This unit aims to raise awareness of your own attitude, habits and challenges in learning, so that you can be organised and realistic in planning your own study.

03 – Activities of Everyday Living:

This unit explores the role of the Montessori practitioner in working with children in activities of everyday living. You will explore the aims and objectives of this area of learning and learn how this relates to children s learning and development. This unit will introduce you to a range of practical activities and learn how these activities may be presented in the classroom. Distance Learning students will learn these skills during the apparatus workshop.

04  – Principles of Child Development and Observation:

This unit explores the holistic nature of child development: physical, cognitive, social and emotional, language and communication development. You will look at stages of development alongside key theoretical frameworks. The unit explores the core Montessori philosophy of following the child through observation, developing your ability to tune in sensitively to the unique potential of every child. You will learn how to apply theory through the observation of children.

05  –  Education of the Senses:

This unit explores the Montessori approach to education through the senses as a foundation for learning and development. This will be linked to Montessori philosophy, including the principles of the sensitive periods and the absorbent mind. This unit will introduce you to a range of practical activities and you will learn how these activities may be presented in the classroom. Distance Learning students will learn these skills during the apparatus workshop.

06  –  Contemporary Early Childhood Practice:

This unit explores the relationship of the Montessori Early Years Approach with current curriculum and statutory requirements of Early Years Education. This includes the roles and relationships that support children in and out of the classroom and the promotion of inclusive practice to support the needs of the individual child including children who require additional support. This unit also aims to help you become aware of opportunities to work collaboratively with others in supporting learning.

07  –  Promoting Children s Health and Well-being:

This unit considers the health and well-being of young children and explores the role of the Montessori Early Years Educator in supporting health and well-being. This unit will look at a range of issues relating to the health, well-being and safeguarding of young children. It will explore the impact of these issues on early childhood provision and practice and the role of the Montessori practitioner in promoting health and well-being.

08  –  Numeracy and Arithmetic:

This unit will introduce you to the Montessori approach of working with numeracy and arithmetic. You will explore the concept of the mathematical mind and be introduced to a range of practical activities that prepare the child for work with the Montessori materials, offering you a syllabus to teach numeracy and arithmetic to young children.  Distance Learning students will learn these skills during the apparatus workshop.

09  –  Literacy:

This unit offers insights into the Montessori approach to literacy and language skills. This includes specific activities that prepare the child for literacy (reading and writing) and grammar. The unit introduces a range of practical activities and explores how these activities can be presented in the classroom. Distance Learning students will learn these skills during the apparatus workshop.

10  –  Knowledge and Understanding of the World:

This unit explores the Montessori approach to developing the child s knowledge and understanding of the world. You will be introduced to the idea of Cosmic Education which encourages enthusiasm, respect and responsibility for children s immediate and wider environment. Developing knowledge and understanding of the world is approached from the starting point of direct, first-hand experiences. The unit introduces a range of practical activities and experiences in this area and explores how these activities can be presented inside and outside the classroom. Distance Learning students will learn these skills during the apparatus workshop.

11  –  Creativity in the Montessori Learning Environment:

This unit aims to provide you with insights into the vital role creativity and creative thinking play in children s learning and development and how this is supported in the Montessori approach. This will include consideration of creativity and the expressive arts both as a subject area and also as an approach integrated throughout the curriculum. Stimulating curiosity and providing the freedom for self-expression and discovery support the development of creativity in the Montessori environment. The unit explores how to integrate creativity across the curriculum as well as considering the creative subject areas of expressive arts and design, performing arts and imaginative role-play.

12  –  Developing own Montessori Practice in Professional Placement:

This unit is about developing the skills needed to work in a Montessori Early Years setting bringing together your knowledge and understanding of the Montessori philosophy. You will build a placement portfolio where you can record observations, reflections and planning. To meet the standards for Montessori practice you need to integrate a broad range of knowledge, skills and understanding and to demonstrate that you can fully meet the Early Years Educator Qualifications Criteria.

13 –  Developing own Montessori Principles in Professional Placement:

This unit focuses on reflective practice, it is about you identifying your own continuing personal and professional development and allows you to set out your engagement with the Montessori vision, purpose and methods and to connect the philosophy, curriculum and practical units.

To see the full Course Specification for Level 3 click here – or for Level 4 click here

For a reading list of books to look at before starting the course click here

You will need to buy 3 compulsory books from this booklist before you start.  Course Modules and a wide range of additional resources are provided on the virtual learning environment.    

How long is the course?

Course Dates and Timetable

All students, whether attending or online, follow the same timetable over 2 semesters (40 weeks) of study.

For a sample timetable,  click here.  You will be sent your final timetable with a detailed student handbook and information guide two weeks before your course starts. 


For September 2018 course dates, click here 


Entry Point

Study Days


Thursdays, 10am – 5pm




Tuesdays, 10am – 5pm


Saturdays, 9:30am – 4:30pm

In addition to these timetabled hours you will need to set aside an additional 6-10 hours independent study time per week.

Online students follow the same timetable and are able to join online discussions relating to the topics studied during that week. You will be expected to commit the same number of hours to your study as attending students, 6 hours going through the online sessions and an additional 6-10 hours independent study time. A total study commitment of 16 hours per week.

Professional Placement

Many of our students start their Professional Placement after they have finished the timetabled course, during the second year of study, as they are often combining work and study or have family commitments. Some students manage to start the placement during the first year on top of their timetabled study of units 1-11. This can only be done after a minimum 10 weeks of study and depends on your circumstances and the number of hours you have available for your studies. This will be discussed with you at interview. For more information about placement, click here.  You will need to go through a DBS check, which MCI will process and pay for. 

Where will I study?

MCI London


MCI has recently moved to new premises in St John’s Wood, London NW8.  We are close to St John’s Wood tube station with the Abbey Road recording studios made famous by the Beatles, just down the road.  

Students can make use of our specialist Montessori & Early Years Library. Students have a common room and an outside space. Teaching spaces are well equipped with the full range of Montessori materials. The college has a small bookstore and books can also be purchased online from the shop. The College is usually open on Wednesdays all day for students to access to the library or to practice with the materials, supervised by one of the MCI team.

Student Union

We don’t have a Student Union at MCI, but there are active student committees, with student reps from each group who meet every semester and give feedback to help us continually improve our courses and how they operate.  Students can also discuss college-wide issues and stay informed on MCI Meeting Point.


MCI is not currently able to offer student accommodation. Online students attending one of our London apparatus workshops can consult our accommodation brochure  for short term stay.

At Home –  Online

You can also join our growing body of students who choose the flexibility of study online from your own home. Following the same timetable as our London College  you will need to set aside 16 hours study time per week to follow the course. 6 hours to work through the timetabled sessions plus an additional 10 hours independent study time.

How will I study?



The community feeling online and the infectious enthusiasm from the  experienced tutors
has been what s made this course so special
 – Brekke



Whether you are an attending or online student you can be assured of a high quality learning environment supported by specialist Montessori tutors. You will be allocated a group tutor and will have regular tutorials (via Skype for online students).

  • All our tutors are passionate about Montessori and teaching and learning

  • All our tutors have MCI Diplomas and are experienced Montessori practitioners

  • All our tutors have completed the specialist MCI Trainers Workshop and hold relevant assessor qualifications including qualifications in teaching and learning in Higher Education

  • All our tutors have Degrees and most also have post-graduate qualifications

  • Each tutor has a subject specialism

  • All our tutors are committed to ongoing training and professional development

  • Many of our tutors give guest lectures and have contributed articles on Montessori education

    “The team of London-based full time tutors is supplemented by a pool of carefully selected
    Montessori professionals who act as Group Tutors, Professional Placement Tutors                  and Visiting Lecturers”




“Students were unequivocal in their praise for the high quality and speed of feedback  from tutors for both their work in lectures and in their written assessments”– School Inspection Service Report, 2014



Blended Learning using our Virtual Learning Environment

All student access course materials online through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

For the first time MCI is now able to offer all its students, whether attending or online, an integrated programme of study using a blended learning approach. Innovative, interactive online course content is combined with face to face learning with our team of Montessori specialists. Find out more by visiting our blog or contact admissions@montessori.org.uk to request  a guest pass to try it for yourself.

Our VLE is designed to bring together all our Montessori Diploma students, studying around the world as an international community of learners. Whether you are studying at one of our Centres on a weekly basis or are studying as a Distance Learner you will have a combination of online and face to face experiences. Online Learners will gain their hands-on experience with the Montessori materials under the guidance of Montessori specialist Tutors when they attend the Apparatus Workshop which forms an essential part of the course.

All students share the rich experience of the 400 hour professional work placement in an approved Montessori setting, supervised by an experienced Mentor and supported by an MCI academic tutor. Here you will be able to absorb Montessori practice modelled by experienced practitioners and learn from the best teachers – the children themselves. You will continue to use the VLE to communicate, reflect and share your experiences with your peers.


Our assessments are designed to meet the various learning styles and needs of our students. We want to give students the opportunity to achieve to their individual potential and offer a variety of assessment methods that include essay, lesson plans, portfolio, presentations, practical assessment and placement-based reflective assignments. There are no written exams.

The Diploma is a competency-based qualification so there are no grades; instead there is a comprehensive range of assessment criteria that need to be met across all units. We make extensive use of peer feedback and group work to establish a spirit of community and learning together.

What is the difference between Level 3 & Level 4?

At both levels you will study the same units and have access to the same course materials. The main difference is in the entrance criteria. The assessments will be different according to which level you are studying at. Level 3 is considered comparable to A Level study, Level 4 is the same as first year of University level study. At both levels you will gain a qualification to be able to work as an Early Years Practitioner in a Montessori setting.

Where could this course take me?

Career Opportunities

MCI graduates have the knowledge and skills needed by the Montessori community; employability and work-based learning are key aspects of the training. The Diploma will allow you to work in a Montessori setting as a Montessori Early Years Practitioner, able to assume key person responsibility and be counted on the specified adult/child ratios in England.

MCI works closely with the Montessori Schools Association, to ensure the training meets the needs of employers and there is a strong demand for MCI graduates within the sector. Students gain a full and relevant qualification that fully meets the  current  Early Years Educator requirements.  Awarded by CACHE, the qualification is listed on the National Qualifications Framework making it more widely accepted and acknowledged across the Early Years Sector within and beyond the UK.

The level of MCI training has hugely grown and improved to a much higher level.
–  Montessori Manager,
MEAB Conference, 2016
We only ever employ Montessori trained practitioners and they’ve all been MCI trained.
–  Montessori Manager,
MEAB Conference, 2016
Very thorough training – well equipped for undertakings of their post.
– Montessori Manager,
MEAB Conference, 2016

Can I work Abroad?

Montessori education is international in its nature and many of our MCI graduates are successfully working worldwide. You should always check specific national requirements for working with children to establish if you need additional qualifications to work in your current or intended country of location.

Can I open my own Montessori setting?

A growing number of former students have gone on to open their own settings, with more aspiring to do so in the future. National requirements will vary on managing a setting and you will need to check local regulations to set up a school in your area.

What are our Students doing?

  • Room Leaders in Montessori settings

  • Managers or Owners of Montessori settings in the UK and abroad

  • Working as Childminders

  • Teaching in Montessori Primary Schools

  • Teaching in State  Primary Schools

  • Working in Play  Therapy

  • Working as Educational Psychologists

  • Working as Heath Visitors

  • Being Amazing Parents

Progression Opportunities

The Level 4 Diploma has been awarded 120 university credits by London Metropolitan University, our validating institution. MCI Diploma Level 4 graduates gain direct entry to Level 5 of our Foundation Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice and can then progress to full BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies at London Metropolitan University.

Level 3 Diploma graduates will also have the opportunity to progress to Level 4 by extending their Professional Placement and completing an additional range of assignments.