The Elementary I program prepares adults to teach children from 6-9 years of age, and the Elementary II program prepares adults to teach children from 9-12 years of age, in classrooms that are in keeping with the Montessori philosophy.
There are two levels of Elementary Teacher Training: Elementary I (6-9 years) and Elementary II (9-12 years). Both Elementary I and II teacher training course have two parts: the academic phase and the practicum phase. The academic classes are held at the Princeton Montessori School where adult learners have access to a number of elementary classrooms equipped with a complete array of Montessori learning materials. This unique feature of the program provides optimal learning experiences for each student teacher.
For Elementary I, adult learners attend classes for six weeks the first summer, and two weeks during the second summer. They attend two seminars (spring and fall) during their practicum year.
For Elementary II, adult learners attend classes for four weeks in the summer and two seminars (spring and fall) during the following school year. If students did a practicum in Elementary I, they do not need to do a practicum in Elementary II.
Usually, adult learners complete the two weeks of their Elementary I second summer academic phase and begin their Elementary II academic phase immediately. The calendar is designed to have the Elementary I & II courses taken sequentially.
Students must complete a minimum of one summer of course work, totaling a minimum of 200 hours before beginning their practicum phase. Students must do their practicum phase in an approved Montessori elementary program. There is only one practicum required if a student in doing both the Elementary I and Elementary II training at PCTE.
The function of the practicum is to provide the student a supervised teaching/learning experience and a period of observation, internalization, and further study. It is a time to bring together the theory and practice of Montessori education. The practicum may begin the September following the first summer academic phase or after the second summer of the academic phase. The practicum lasts a full academic year. Locating a practicum site is the responsibility of the student. All practicum sites must be approved by PCTE prior to the beginning of the practicum phase.
There are two types of practicum models: a supervised practicum and a self-directed practicum.
The Supervised Practicum requires that the student teacher participate five days a week, through two full semesters, for a minimum of four hours per day, in the classroom of a qualified teacher at an approved school site. A minimum of three on-site consultation-evaluation visits by the program representative is required.
In rare and special cases, students may work in a Self-Directed Practicum when approved by the director. All the requirements for the supervised practicum apply to the self-directed practicum, with the exception that the intern has full responsibility for the Montessori class without the daily guidance of a qualified Montessori-supervising teacher in the classroom. Because the student does not have daily supervision, there may be additional on-site observation visits from a PCTE representative to ensure that the practicum is progressing appropriately. There is an additional fee for each extra visit over the regular minimum of three visits.