Pilot States’ Advocacy

Colorado (Katy Myers and RB Fast)

  • Collaborated with lawmaker on a bill for alternative teacher licensure
  • Helped to draft bill for alternative teacher licensure that will be introduced in 2014
  • Identify various levels of quality in early childhood education to be used in the development of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) in CO
  • Reached out to directors of the department of education to provide Montessori perspective regarding QRIS (i.e., consider AMI and MACTE accredited Montessori programs as a level of quality on par with NAEYC)

Connecticut (Una Barry and Ann-Marie Fenn)

  • Attended Child Advocacy Day at the State Capital last month and met with lawmakers
  • Joined the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance
  • The Board of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) approved a pilot program that will accredit stand-alone primary Montessori schools that include kindergarten level
  • The continuation of these advocacy efforts provides the possibility for primary-only Montessori schools to be designated as a “school”
  • Currently embarking on three-year process to receive state accreditation which would exempt Montessori schools from childcare regulations

Georgia (Jan Deason)

  • Changing local perception – “Georgia Bright From the Start,” a state licensing agency, to look at Montessori programs differently from daycare
  • Commissioner of the Department of Early Child Care Learning visits – during the month of October two visits have been scheduled with legislators—one at Village Montessori School and the other at Arbor Montessori School
  • First Montessori (Springmont) agreed to have a Quality Rating visit using the existing criteria and regulations. The QR visit yielded the following:
    • Meetings with state officials to examine the QR criteria line by line and determine where Montessori would look different in its approach and why.
    • Creation of a “new” rating scale for AMI Montessori programs that explains to examiners what looks different in the Montessori environment.

Illinois (Patty Eggerding and Debbie Senoff-Langford)

  • Increase Montessori representation and voice through the Illinois Early Learning Council.
  • Work with the newly formed QRIS subcommittee (under the Montessori Policy Committee) to better study options for QRIS including the use of the environmental rating scales that may not be favorable to Montessori programs.
  • Work on school accreditation applications/alignment with QRIS “ExceleRate Illinois”.

Maryland (Josh Oboler and Nancy Anselm)

Exciting updates in Maryland:

Final Proposed Changes to the Childcare Regulations in Maryland Received

In addition to these regulations, Maryland has received written confirmation that:

    • Floor Beds for use in the Montessori programs will be allowed by submitting a Variance Request to the regional Office of Child Care. The approved variance will provide for compliance to COMAR 13A.16.03.08.
        • Potentially dangerous activity (use of scissors, beads, glass, etc.) – COMAR 13A.16.08.01.D – Office of Child Care Licensing staff will receive information and training on appropriate supervision as it relates to the Montessori philosophy, however, regardless of program philosophy all children are to be supervised appropriately according to their age, activity and ability.

As you will note, Montessori programs that have been validated are exempted from multiple regulations and are authorized to exceed group size and teacher child ratios by 1/3. The validation process is a voluntary process by which State authorized organizations inspect Montessori programs to ensure that they meet minimum standards of teacher training, implement a Montessori curriculum and have adequate Montessori materials.

Maryland agreed to recognize Montessori as an approved curriculum for purposes of the state’s EXCELS program.

Advocates are working with the state to determine a viable alternative to the ERS, which would permit consistency through using the same rating tool for all levels of Montessori.

Minnesota (Shawna Maryanovich, Syneva Barrett and Peggy McKenna)

AMI and AMS co-chairs have been working closely to establish a state coalition to complement the work of the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota (MTCM.)

The MTCM has joined the MinneMinds campaign to help support early childhood development in Minnesota and support public funding. MinneMinds published a press release in May which can be accessed here.

In October 2013, AMI accreditation was approved to qualify for a 15% rate differential for the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program. A big congratulations to Minnesota!

South Carolina (Ginny Riga)

          • In the process of organizing their coalition.

Texas (Maria Quiroga and Betsy Coe)

        • Surveyed regions regarding their needs and interest for an initiative
        • Set up Facebook page
        • Set up state list serve
        • Organized TX group as a collaborative, broad outreach team to address modifying regulations for toddlers and infants, as well as and the furniture requirements, ratio requirements