AMI/USA Consultation Program

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 by AMI as a Recognized, Affiliated, or Associated level
  • 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

General Details

AMI Consultants

Many of the consultants are AMI trainers and others have practical experience in the classroom along with successfully completing the AMI Consultant Training Program. The program these individuals undergo is designed to verify that AMI 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.

Consultation Policies

  • A consultation is required in the first year and at least every three years.
  • In some instances a revisit is recommended to provide additional support for schools and teachers. A revisit is discussed in advance with the administrator and noted in the written reports.
  • New schools 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.
  • 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.

Consultation Process

The consultation process is divided into three phases: 

  1. 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. 
  2. On-site visit—includes classroom observation and individual conferences with the administrator and teachers
  3. Written reports—sent following the visit

 

Special Events

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 Billing and Payment 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.

Clarifications

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.

Conference schedule: Consultants will observe only the initial portion of an afternoon class then begin the teacher conferences mid-afternoon. Schools need to make sure there is an adult 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.

Scheduling Procedures

Notification

Schools due for consultations and revisits are identified by AMI/USA each summer. Notification that the application and request for consultation is needed is sent to schools in June/July. New schools receive the consultation information when requesting a New School Packet from the AMI/USA office. Once the required forms are submitted, the internal scheduling process begins.

It is important to complete the forms with accurate information for the coming year (please note, the number of classes is very important). Special events such as a board meeting, family night, or workshop should be included on this form also. Once the application for recognition and payment of the required fees is confirmed, the scheduling of the consultation will begin. 

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 (Assitants to Infancy, Primary, or Elementary), therefore schools may have two or even three different consultants scheduled. AMI/USA schedules more than 100 trips 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. Any changes at the request of the school which become necessary after a visit is confirmed may result in increased charges to the school.

Survey Forms

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. 

On-Site Visit

The on-site visit includes an overall environmental observation, individual classroom observations, and individual conferences with the administrator and each lead teacher. The daily observation and teacher conference schedule should be planned with the consultant in advance. 

Consultants visiting levels with non-AMI-trained lead teachers will observe briefly in these classes and give general comments. Since AMI consultants are not in a position to critique non-AMI training, a general report will be submitted to the school and teacher.

Written Reports

The school reports and individual teacher reports 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. 

Hospitality

Because the consultant is traveling to your city and is usually unfamiliar with the location, it is important to make this transition an easy one so that she may relax and concentrate on her responsibilities to your school. Attention to details such as airport pickup and comfortable, quiet lodging including a restaurant, internet access, and other amenities, 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 the 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.

Administrator’s Checklist

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, 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 also be handed directly to the consultant on-site by the teacher.

☐ Provide all necessary transportation for the consultant and discuss all meal arrangements. Provide refreshments and meals.

☐ 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.

☐ Receive invoice from AMI/USA for consultation fees and any additional expenses. Prompt payment is appreciated.

2019-20 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
Special Events:
Parent/Community Talk $450
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 teacher and school administration, written reports, and administrative costs of the program. Please note: these fees will be updated for the 2020-2021 school year.

Billing Procedures

Following the visit, consultants submit an expense report to AMI/USA along with the written reports. After the consultation reports are sent to the school, an invoice for consultation fees, special event fees, and any outstanding expenses is sent to the school. Payment is due upon receipt of the invoice. Please pay online or make checks payable to AMI/USA. Overdue invoices may incur penalties and interest. Schools with invoices more than 30 days past due will be removed from the AMI/USA website until payment is received.

Travel and Other Expenses

Responsibility of the School:

  • Local transportation: includes all transportation needed during visit including transportation to and from the airport
  • Food: includes meals en route
  • Accommodations
  • Airfare: If the level was recognized last year, or will be recognized this year, airfare will be paid by AMI/USA. Otherwise, airfare is the school’s responsibility.

Additional Policies

  • 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 invoiced 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!