Levels of School Membership
School MembershipThe American Montessori Society offers 3 levels of membership for schools: full, associate, and initiate.
When you use the AMS Find-a-School function, you will see that each school is identified by its membership level, and, if applicable, its AMS-accreditation status.
For a school to join at this level, all classroom lead teachers must hold Montessori credentials in the level(s) they are teaching, with the exception of those teachers who are working with children ages 14 – 18 (and are not required to have the appropriate Montessori credential, i.e., Secondary I or I-II, until July 2020). The credentials must be issued by a teacher education program affiliated with AMS, the Association for Montessori Internationale (AMI), the National Center for Montessori Education (NCME), or other programs that are also accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). Certificates of Attendance from any Montessori teacher education program do not qualify a school as a Full-member school (or as eligible for AMS accreditation).
Effective January 1, 2020, heads of full member schools will be required to hold a bachelor's degree (or higher) and meet other specific requirements, as detailed on our School Membership Web page.
Only full member schools may apply for AMS accreditation, which involves a rigorous process of review and evaluation. A school is eligible to seek accreditation after being a full member for at least 1 year.
At the associate level, the lead teacher in some, but not all, of the school’s classrooms must hold credentials from a teacher education program affiliated with AMS, AMI, NCME, or accredited by MACTE, and be teaching at the level for which they were trained. Associate member schools are not eligible for AMS accreditation.
Schools that are just forming or schools that are new to the American Montessori Society may join at this level. Initiate membership is limited to 3 years during which time the school works toward full or associate membership. Initiate member schools are not eligible for AMS accreditation. Schools that serve only students ages 14 and older may maintain their Initiate membership until July 2020 or until one of the lead teachers holds a Secondary I or I – II credential (as appropriate), whichever occurs first.