Consultation is a part of the formal AMI recognition process for schools. It benefits the schools by providing a standard of excellence and also serves as a vehicle for continuing education for faculty and administrators. Consultation is pedagogical in nature: it safeguards and enhances compliance with AMI standards which contributes to the assurance provided to families about the authenticity of the education provided. The guiding directive for consultation is to provide support and assistance to the adults who work within the sphere of the child.
A consultation provides:
- Recognition as an AMI Recognized, Affiliated, or Associated program
- Assistance to the teacher in implementing Montessori pedagogy
- Assurance of a prepared environment suitable for the activity of a child of a particular age
- Guidance to the administration/board in supporting the teachers
Many of the consultants are AMI trainers and others have practical experience in the classroom along with successfully completing the AMI/USA Consultant Orientation Program. The program these individuals undergo is designed to verify that AMI/USA consultants possess a thorough knowledge of theory, practical experience with children, and an ability to communicate this theory and practice to others in a manner consistent with Montessori principles. Your assigned consultant’s profile will be forwarded when the visit is confirmed.
- A consultation is required in the first year and at least every three years.
- In some instances a revisit is required to provide additional support for schools and teachers. A revisit is discussed in advance with the administrator and noted in the written reports.
- New programs and those reapplying after a lapse in recognition must have a consultation prior to the finalization of the recognition process.
- AMI/USA makes the final decision on the consultant assignments. Schools may indicate special needs, if any, but given that consultations are tied closely to school recognition, to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, it is not appropriate for schools to select their consultant.
- A consultation is scheduled to include no more than two classes per day or one all-day class with two trained teachers.
- The same consultant will not be scheduled to visit a school more than two consecutive visits.
- Consultations cannot be scheduled when there is a student teacher in the classroom.
- Schools should notify AMI/USA if there are any changes to the application details or consultation request during the planning phase.
The consultation process is divided into three phases:
- Before the visit—the school’s application, required fees and the request for consultation must be submitted. Then a confirmation letter will be provided for the school’s signature. Once the visit is confirmed, the survey forms are completed by each teacher and the head of school/administrator and sent to the consultant at least 2 weeks before the visit.
- On-site visit—includes classroom observation and individual conferences with the teachers and administrator.
- Written reports—sent following the visit.
You may want to have your consultant share their experience and knowledge while they are available to the school by scheduling additional “special events.” All special events carry an additional fee (see Consultation Fee Information). Therefore it is important that there is clarity between the consultant and the school when making these arrangements.
Special events can take the form of:
- Evening presentation to families on topics that may be suggested by the school
- Teacher workshop/staff meetings
- Meeting with the school board (includes dinner meetings)
Special events must be arranged and confirmed in advance; you may indicate your interest in scheduling a “special event” on the Request for Consultation form. Special events are often scheduled on another day than the consultation, and may require an additional night’s lodging.
All-day classes: An all-day class is one that offers extended hours, usually both in the morning and late afternoon, during which the children remain in their Montessori environment, working under the guidance of one or two overlapping AMI trained teachers. Consultations for all-day classes will consist of a full-day visit per classroom (scheduled as two classrooms) including individual conferences with all teachers involved.
Consultation schedule: Consultants will observe the morning work cycle and only the initial portion of an afternoon class, then begin the teacher conferences mid-afternoon. Schools need to make sure there is a substitute available to take the place of the classroom teacher to allow for this schedule.
Extended day: It is recommended that all three and four year old children who remain at school throughout the afternoon be included in the afternoon work period when they are not napping.
Programs due for consultations and revisits are identified by AMI/USA each summer. Details regarding the Application for AMI Recognition Status, including the Request for Consultation, are sent to schools. New programs should contact the AMI/USA office to be added to the mailing list and if there are any questions. Once the application for recognition with a request for consultation and payment of fees are received, the scheduling of the consultation will begin.
It is important to complete the forms with accurate information for the coming year (please note, the number of classes is very important). If you are requesting any special events such as a board meeting, parent talk, or staff workshop, that should be included on this form also.
Contact continues throughout the summer and fall to schedule visits as consultants determine their availability. The following are taken into consideration when developing the overall schedule:
- the availability of the consultants
- the size of the school and number of classes
- the individual and special needs of all schools
- the geographic location
- the preferred time of year
It is important to note that scheduling is a complex process and we strive to determine a suitable match for each school. Most consultants are qualified to consult at one level (Assistants to Infancy, Primary, or Elementary), therefore schools may have two or even three different consultants scheduled. AMI/USA schedules more than 100 visits each year.
Preliminary agreement of dates and consultant(s) will be followed by written confirmation, which includes the consultant’s profile and contact information. At this point, the consultation is also confirmed in writing with the consultant. It is very important to be aware that confirmation is a firm commitment.
AMI/USA will provide survey forms electronically for each teacher and the administrator. These forms offer an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their classrooms and provide valuable information for the consultant. The consultation will be rescheduled if the forms are not electronically sent to the consultant at least two weeks before the date of the visit.
The on-site visit includes an overall environmental observation, individual classroom observations, and individual conferences with each lead teacher and the administrator. The daily observation and teacher conference schedule are planned with the consultant in advance.
Consultants visiting levels with non-AMI trained teachers will observe in these classes and give general comments. Since AMI/USA consultants are not in a position to critique non-AMI training, a full report (without requirements) will be submitted to the school and teacher.
The school report and individual teacher reports documenting the consultant’s visit, including observations, recommendations, and noted requirements are sent to the school administrator within approximately four weeks of the visit. Copies are permanently filed in the AMI/USA office. AMI/USA recommends that the pertinent comments in the school report be shared with the teachers. Schools will be contacted if the status changes as a result of the consultation visit.
Because the consultant is traveling to your city and is usually unfamiliar with the location, it is important to make the transition an easy one so that they may relax and concentrate on their responsibilities to your school. Attention to details such as airport pickup and comfortable, quiet lodging including a restaurant and internet access must be considered when planning the consultation.
In all instances, hotel accommodations are required to ensure the solitude necessary for the consultant to work and concentrate. This is a consultation policy and must be respected. It is the school’s responsibility to make and pay for hotel arrangements in advance of the visit. In addition, if a consultant deems the lodging to be below the requested standard, then the school will be responsible for the costs associated with moving the consultant to a more appropriate location.
Refreshments and meals during the consultant’s visit also need to be provided. Make sure to be aware of and honor any special dietary requests.
At Least Two Weeks Prior to the Visit:
☐ Consultant contacts you with specific travel information, dates needed for lodging, and dietary considerations. Make sure the consultant is aware of any special event requests (such as a parent talk, staff meeting, or a board meeting).
☐ Discuss and plan the schedule for the visit.
☐ Arrange and pay for local transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals. You will be informed if the consultant is visiting more than one school in your area. It is important to coordinate lodging and transportation arrangements with the other schools.
☐ Ensure that the survey forms have been emailed to the consultant two weeks in advance of the visit, allowing sufficient time for thorough consultant preparation.
On-Site During the Consultation:
☐ Give a hard copy of the completed survey forms and daily observation/conference schedule to the consultant immediately upon their arrival.
☐ The sealed envelope containing the teacher confidential form should be handed to the consultant on-site by the teacher, if not already sent directly to the consultant by the teacher in advance.
☐ Provide all necessary transportation for the consultant and discuss all meal arrangements. Provide refreshments and meals during the time the consultant is on-site.
☐ Facilitate all observations and conference times.
Following the Consultation:
☐ Receive copies of all reports sent from AMI/USA. Distribute the teachers’ copies.
☐ Complete evaluation forms within two weeks.
2021-22 Consultation Fee Information
|One-day consultation/one class||$875|
|One-day consultation/two classes||$975|
|Two-day consultation/three classes||$1690|
|Two-day consultation/four classes||$1800|
|Three-day consultation/five classes||$2515|
|Three-day consultation/six classes||$2580|
|Each additional day||$750|
|Teacher Workshop/Staff Meeting||$175/hour|
The consultation fees shown on the chart above include observation of both morning and afternoon sessions, conferences with individual teachers and school administration, written reports, and administrative costs of the program.
Travel and Other Expenses
Responsibility of the School:
- Local transportation: includes all transportation needed during the visit including transportation to and from the airport
- Food: includes meals en route
- Airfare: If the school has ‘Associated’ or ‘Affiliated’ status, then the school will pay for the consultant’s airfare.
- In the event that an additional night’s lodging is required due to the consultant’s travel arrangements, all schools involved in that trip will be responsible for an equal portion of that charge.
- AMI/USA pays for the expense of a Saturday night stay, should that be necessary, but all other nights are the responsibility of the school(s). Please be advised that the consultant may need to schedule the return flight on the day following the visit.
- Any changes to travel plans, made at the request of the school after a visit is confirmed, may result in increased charges to the school (i.e., for airfare cancellation, change penalties, or lodging expenses).
Thank you for your interest in the AMI/USA Consultation program!