Recognition consultations will be conducted entirely online this year due to the ongoing pandemic. The consultation is intended to be supportive in nature and current school’s recognition status will not be affected by the outcome of the consultation visits unless a program is moving from Affiliated or Associated to the Recognized status. The consultations will be oriented to providing support with pedagogy during these challenging times.
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
Many of the consultants are AMI trainers and others have practical experience in the classroom along with successfully completing the AMI/USA 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.
- 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.
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.
- Online visit—includes individual conferences with the administrator and teachers.
- 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:
- Online presentation to families on topics that may be suggested by the school
- Online teacher workshop/staff meetings
- Online meeting with the school board
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.
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: The consultation schedule will include a brief initial meeting with the head of school/administrator, an individual meeting with each lead teacher, and a final concluding meeting with the administration. The school and consultant will determine the exact time for each meeting.
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 each summer. 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 and payment of the required fees is confirmed, 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). Special events such as a board meeting, family night, or workshop 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 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 include a brief initial meeting with the head of school/administrator, an individual meeting with each lead teacher, and a final concluding meeting with the administration within two days. The school and consultant will determine the exact times for each meeting.
The school reports and individual teacher reports documenting the consultant’s visit, including observations and recommendations, 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.
The school should arrange for whatever platforms are needed to conduct the online visit.
At Least Two Weeks Prior to the Visit:
☐ Consultant contacts you to arrange the exact times for meetings.
☐ Discuss and plan the schedule for the visit.
☐ 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.
Online During the Consultation:
☐ Facilitate all meeting times.
Following the Consultation:
☐ Receive copies of all reports sent from AMI/USA. Distribute the teachers’ copies.
☐ Complete evaluation forms within two weeks.
2020-21 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 an initial online meeting with the head of school/administrator, an individual meeting with each lead teacher, a final concluding meeting with the administration, written reports, and administrative costs of the program.
Thank you for your interest in the AMI/USA Consultation program!