Some AMS member schools have earned AMS accreditation, a designation that a program meets a well-defined standard of excellence. AMS-accredited schools must meet AMS School Accreditation Standards and Criteria.
Only schools that have been AMS full members for a year or more are eligible to become accredited. Applicants undergo a rigorous process that includes:
- an intensive 12- to 18-month self-evaluation involving administration, staff, teachers, and parents;
- a thorough onsite review by an AMS peer accreditation team;
- commitment to a strategic plan for long-term improvement.
Currently, about 10% of AMS member schools are AMS accredited. To maintain accreditation, a school must submit an annual report that documents continued compliance with AMS standards. It should also show that it is making progress toward its stated goals for improvement. Successful schools receive an updated certificate of accreditation.
AMS recognizes schools accredited by the Montessori School Accreditation Commission (MSAC) as being in equal standing with schools accredited by our own organization. MSAC was the accrediting body of the National Center for Montessori Education, which came together as a single entity with AMS in 2006.
Schools that choose to apply for AMS accreditation recognize that excellence in education is an ongoing endeavor. Here’s what educators from accredited schools say about the value of accreditation:
AMS accreditation was transformative for the entire school community. It was a light-year leap of growth which empowered us to deepen our awareness of who we are and who we can become for the children we serve. This process is not to be missed by any school that is committed to the journey of self discovery!
—Mary Ann Connolly, head of school, Walnut Park Montessori School, Newton, MA
Accreditation gives a school the opportunity to reflect on what it is doing and to receive objective, thoughtful feedback from colleagues outside the immediate school community. The standards and criteria give families and educators the satisfaction of knowing that their school ascribes to the highest qualities set by AMS.
— Dane Peters, head of school, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, Brooklyn, NY
The process of accreditation was healthy and productive for every member of our school. New families are reassured to know that the school they are choosing has been through a rigorous internal self-study as well as visits and input from professional consultants. This is very affirming for the work we are doing and impact we are trying to make on the professional education community as a whole.
— Marie Pendleton, head of school, Bowling Green Montessori School, Bowling Green, OH
The path to accreditation is a difficult upward climb but the exhilaration of knowing you have reached a summit where staff, students, and community have come together and all have benefited is well worth the struggle.
— Donna Kaiser, teacher, Bunche Elementary Montessori School, Ft. Wayne Community Schools, Ft. Wayne, IN