Certificate of Higher Education in Montessori Early Childhood Practice

Flexible blended learning study modes, full-time, part-time and online

In Brief

  • Blended Learning – face-to-face and online 
  • Full time or part time 
  • Study with MCI from anywhere in the UK 
  • Includes Professional Placement
  • Meets the Early Years Educator criteria
  • Student Finance available for eligible students
  • Option to progress to Foundation Degree
  • Validated by London Metropolitan University


Learn more about the course at our next open event

Saturday 8 June – 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Book your free place here

Why choose the Cert HE?

  • Build your career as a Montessori Educator

  • Link theory to practice on Professional Placement

  • Combine the international reputation of MCI with the best of contemporary Early Childhood studies

  • Choose a study pathway that fits your lifestyle

Learning theory whilst working alongside nursery teachers has really supported a full understanding of what it takes to be a Montessori Practitioner – I have really enjoyed the course and the one year of study for me was great as I was keen to have a career change.


Course Overview

The Cert HE in Montessori Early Childhood Practice, validated by London Metropolitan University, was first developed in 2014 to meet the demand in the workplace for well qualified Montessori Early Childhood practitioners. It offers a full and relevant Level 4 qualification for those looking to start a career in Montessori or are looking for a career change, with the benefit of student finance available for eligible students.

For the first time in September 2018 our unique blended learning approach to delivery will be extended to the Cert HE.  This means you can choose to study full-time over one year or spread the course over two years part-time.  The course is supported by our Virtual Learning Environment, allowing students to combine online and face to face classroom attendance.  For the first time students will be able to study on the Cert HE online without having to attend our London College every week. 

Full-time students will be in professional placement in a Montessori early years setting 2 days per week (Monday and Tuesday).  You will also study another 3 modules: Montessori Early Childhood Practice (1), Montessori Early Childhood Practice (2) and Perspectives on Children’s Development & Well-being (see module descriptions below). You can either attend MCI London 2 days every week (Thursday and Friday) over two semesters, or study the modules mainly online. If you choose online you will still need to attend MCI London for two weeks face to face to learn how to work with the Montessori materials – 1 week in February and 1 week in May. Everyone attends a compulsory induction week in September.    

Part-time students will study 2 modules during your first year: Montessori Early Childhood Practice (1) and Montessori Early Childhood Practice (2). You can either attend MCI London one day per week (Thursday) or study the modules mainly online. If you choose to study online you will also need to attend for two weeks face to face to learn how to work with the Montessori materials – 1 week in February and 1 week in May.  Everyone attends the compulsory induction week in September.  

In the second year, part-time students will complete the professional placement and you will need to be in a Montessori setting 2 days per week.  You will also complete the module Perspectives on Children’s Development & Well-being. You can either attend MCI London one day per week (Friday) or study the module mainly online. If you choose to study online you will need to be available for timetabled synchronous blended learning sessions when you will join us remotely via webinar on set dates. You would also join us for induction week in September.  

Please note: Due to the assessment requirements of the Cert HE and the need for an MCI tutor to visit you twice on professional placement, students will need to live within reasonable travelling distance of London,( i.e within 3 hours travelling time).  If you want to study with MCI and are based outside England, please look at our Diploma (EYE) course. The course is not suitable for Tier 4 (international) students.

The Cert HE carries 120 University credits at level 4 and you will have the option to continue your studies and progress to the Level 5 Foundation Degree at the end of your course. The FdA can then lead on to a full BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies to develop as a graduate leaders.

Employability and work-based learning is a key aspect of the training. You will combine academic study with practical experience on assessed professional placements in Montessori settings. The vocational nature of the course fully  meets the  current  Early Years Educator requirements  and enables students to practise as Montessori Early Years Practitioners.

MCI is dedicated to promoting Montessori education in the context of the 21st century and working together with the Early Years community.

To see the full course specification click here

Course Structure

The Cert HE has been developed to meet the demand in the work place for well-qualified Montessori early childhood specialists who can demonstrate high levels of professional competence. The focus and context for the study of early childhood is the distinct philosophy and pedagogy of Montessori practice, with the aim to develop reflective practitioners who are forward thinking, responsive and ready to engage in contemporary early years discourse.   The Cert HE is offered full-time over 1 year or two years part-time. Students will have the option to progress to the Foundation Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice, but can study the Cert HE as a standalone qualification allowing them to enter the workplace as qualified Montessori practitioners.  
Employability and work-based learning is a key aspect of the training.  Students combine academic study with practical experience on a 400 hour assessed professional placement in an approved Montessori setting (preferably MEAB accredited). The vocational nature of the course and assessed placement element allows students to gain a full and relevant qualification that meets the Early Years Educator requirements for students to be counted on the ratios at Level 3 or above to work with young children in England.
Knowledge, understanding and skills are integrated by learning in a work context and there is an emphasis on the interplay of theory and practice throughout the course.
The course offers a holistic approach to the study of Early Childhood, incorporating multiple perspectives and a multi-disciplinary approach drawing on a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, education and health.  Child development and observation are studied with an emphasis on play as an integrating mechanism in young children’s development.  Within the core construction of professionalism, perspectives such as children’s rights, children’s health and well-being, including child protection and disability, diversity and inclusion will be considered and applied. 
Emphasis is placed on active learning with a gradual transition from more supported and guided study to more independent and self-directed learning.  A variety of teaching and learning strategies are used, including workshops, lectures, seminars, guided reading, individual tutorials, independent study and opportunities for reflection on practice.   
Teaching and learning strategies also focus on workplace skills and professionalism.  Observations, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. Students, for example, develop an increasing range of observation skills and techniques; they handle curriculum materials and make evaluations of curriculum approaches and resources.  They practise and reflect on techniques to promote effective interactions with parents/carers and other professionals.
Visiting speakers including professionals, parents and guest lecturers are incorporated into the curriculum where possible.
Teaching and learning at MCI is facilitated through a combination of face-to-face and online engagement using a blended learning approach.
The VLE platform is the core component of each course, where students access course materials, text and video resources, extra reading and additional links. This is also the hub for assignment submission and review, peer feedback and forums to communicate both academically and socially with their peers.  The VLE allows the classroom to be ‘flipped’; students access course materials prior to tutor led sessions and complete tasks to develop knowledge and understanding. During group, tutor led sessions, students apply higher order skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis in discussions and group activities.

Modules of Study

Montessori Early Childhood Practice Curriculum (1) – 30 Credit Module

This module introduces you to key principles and concepts of Montessori philosophy and focuses on how the philosophy is translated into practice.   You will be introduced to the use of the Montessori materials to support young children’s learning including working with babies and toddlers under three. This module explores Sensorial Education and Mathematics. These are considered against the Early Years Foundation Stage characteristics of effective learning learning.

How will I be assessed?

Two (2) written tasks where you reflect on different aspects of Montessori philosophy and pedagogy.

A Practical assessment, where you will be asked to present an activity from the curriculum areas of Sensorial Education and Mathematics in a role play.

Montessori Early Childhood Practice Curriculum (2) – 30 Credit Module

This module will apply key principles of Montessori philosophy to practice. You will be introduced to how to use the Montessori materials to support young children’s learning. This module explores the following Montessori areas of learning; Activities of Everyday Living, Creativity, Literacy and Exploring the World. These are considered against the Early Years Foundation Stage areas of learning of Communication, Literacy, the Expressive Arts and Understanding the World.

How will I be assessed?

You will write an essay where you will reflect on aspects of Montessori philosophy and pedagogy relevant to the curriculum areas you have studied.

You will give a 15 minute presentation where you will reflect on the cycle of observe, plan, do, reflect and relate this to following the child.

A practical assessment, where you are will be asked to present an activity from the curriculum areas of Activities of Everyday Living, Literacy and Exploring the World and give one 3 period lesson in a role play.

Perspectives on Children’s Development and Well-being –  30 Credit Module

This module will introduce you to a range of current theories relating to young children’s development and how to use a range of observation methods. The module will also look at a range of issues and policies relating to the health, well-being and safeguarding of young children and consider their impact on early childhood provision and practice.

How will I be assessed?

You will use an observation as a focus for an essay on how play supports the holistic development of the child as an integrating mechanism and also look at the role of the practitioner and the environment in supporting children s play.

You will write a patchwork textstitched together from 3 separate written tasks. The tasks are set around 3 topics: (1) promoting children s rights and entitlements in relation to the UNCRC; (2) promoting a selected aspect of health or well-being in the workplace; (3) a written response to a safeguarding case study.

Professional Studies & Practitioner Placement (1) – 30 Credit Module

You will complete a professional placement in a Montessori setting, 2 days per week. This will give you the practical experience to plan, deliver and assess the Montessori curriculum in the context of the Early Years Foundation Stage. You will be supported on a daily basis by an experienced Mentor in the setting and will be visited by an MCI tutor twice during the placement.

How will I be assessed?

You will put together a portfolio of evidence reflecting on your personal and professional development as a Montessori Practitioner.

You will write a child study (of  2,500 words) based on a series of five observations and other supporting material from your portfolio, drawing on your knowledge of child development theory.

You will reflect and self-assess your practice against a range of criteria, on 5 occasions through your placement to identify your areas of strength and areas for development. You will be supported by your Placement Mentor and Placement Tutor who will carry out observations to confirm your progress.

How long is the course?

New  Entry

Full-time students will complete 4 modules over 2 semesters (30 weeks).

Part-time students will complete 2 modules over 2 semesters in year one (MECP 1 and MECP 2).   The remaining 2 modules will be completed over 2 semesters in year two (Perspectives on Children’s Development & Well-being  and Professional Studies & Practitioner Placement.

For a sample timetable,  click here.  You will be sent your final timetable and your course handbook 2 weeks before the start of your course. 


For September 2018 course dates click here

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.  

Our teaching spaces are set out with the full range of Montessori materials.  

We have a specialist Montessori & Early Years library and you also have access to the Learning Centre at LondonMet on Holloway Road and have access to a wide range of eBooks and eJournals.  

Students have their own common room and can make use of our outside space.

Student Union

Students are welcome to join the student union at London Metropolitan University. At MCI student reps help enhance our provision through student committees. Students communicate with each other on MCI Meeting Point to discuss college wide issues.


MCI does not own or manage any Halls of Residence or offer student accommodation. Students can view information provided by the London Metropolitan Accommodation Bureau on privately owned Halls which they can apply to directly. To view the Accommodation Bureau information,  click here.

How will I be supported during my studies?



Brilliant teaching,  well organised and structured,  delivered at a pace I could follow,  support offered when I needed clarification or got stuck on something.



The team at MCI is committed to creating a supportive learning environment for our students. All students are allocated a Group Tutor as their first point of contact throughout your studies. We have a full-time coordinator for students with specific learning differences and a full-time Professional Placement Coordinator to support students with placements. On Professional Placement you will be also have the support of a Placement Mentor and Placement Tutor.

  • 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



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



Where could this course take me?

Career Opportunities

The course also allows you to develop your career and access a Level 4 qualification which can allow you to work as key person, room leaders, lead practitioner or manager.

MCI graduates have the knowledge and skills needed by the Montessori community, employability and work-based learning are key aspects of the training. MCI works closely with the Montessori Schools Association, to ensure the training meets the needs of employers. Students gain a full and relevant qualification that fully meets the  current  Early Years Educator requirements.

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

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

Progression Opportunities

The CertHE is awarded 120 credits at Level 4 and can be used to progress directly onwards to the Foundation Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice. The Foundation Degree can be used as a platform to gain a  BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies,  with an option to study further towards current relevant qualifications such as Early Years Teacher or PGCE.