The Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies (SIMS) was established in 2011 as a non-profit organization affiliated with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). As of August, 2016, SIMS is conveniently located just outside of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, which, with its established Montessori community, serves as the perfect hub for Montessori in the Southwest.
Our teacher training facilities include a typical primary classroom—the “prepared environment,” set up especially for the adult students, and a complete array of Montessori materials available for your practice and study.
Our trainer, Ann Velasco, will be your knowledgeable guide to the world of Montessori—in Phoenix and beyond.
Your Key to a Career in Montessori
Trained Montessori teachers are in demand: AMI-affiliated Montessori schools typically have long waiting lists, and the critical lack of trained Montessori teachers is a significant factor limiting the growth and development of both new and established Montessori schools.
A career in Montessori education also offers many opportunities for ongoing professional development, expanding or shifting roles, and leadership. The Montessori community conducts regular refresher courses across the country for trained teachers as well as special courses for administrators. Experienced Montessori-trained teachers often take on leadership roles in Montessori schools, or open their own schools as entrepreneurs. Others choose to pursue more than one Montessori diploma (for example, Montessori for infants and toddlers, elementary-aged children, or adolescents) and teach various age groups during their careers, or become Montessori teacher trainers themselves.
Whatever path your career takes, SIMS Montessori primary training is your key to opening doors, locally and worldwide.
The Phoenix Community
The Phoenix area is home to a robust and respected Montessori community, allowing student teachers the opportunity to observe and practice teach in real schools while forming enduring relationships with experienced Montessori practitioners.
While attending training, you’ll enjoy great weather, a low cost of living in Phoenix and down-to-earth culture in a thriving city.
Paddle the Salt River past wild mustangs and blue herons. Hike the trails of South Mountain Park and Preserve. Explore the Heard Museum or the Phoenix Art Museum. Wander in America’s largest butterfly conservatory. Dine or dance the night away in downtown Phoenix. Take in a music or theater performance at the Herberger Theater Center or the historic Orpheum Theater. There’s something for everyone in Phoenix. It’s a place to explore your passion, while sticking to your budget.
Our AMI Partnership
The Association Montessori Internationale training is the gold standard in Montessori teacher education, recognized for excellence in over 110 countries. AMI-trained Montessori teachers are in high demand worldwide: Montessori schools and other employers know that AMI training is the best available.
AMI was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori during her lifetime. Today, AMI continues to offer the highest quality, most authentic and comprehensive Montessori training through affiliated training centers on five continents. SIMS is the AMI-affiliated training center in Phoenix, and is proud to offer a course of study certifying teachers of 2½ through 6-year-olds that meets AMI’s rigorous standards of quality and authenticity.
Graduates of AMI training courses, such as our Primary training course at SIMS, must demonstrate understanding of educational theory, child development, observation techniques, and use and presentation of the Montessori materials. No other Montessori training comes close to providing such a systematic, rigorous course of study. It pays off: you will find yourself achieving a depth of knowledge, both practical and theoretical, that is sought after and valued by Montessori schools worldwide.
Our International Appeal
Spanish and Chinese Language Options
Though our teacher training course is delivered in English, SIMS trainer Ann Velasco is fluent in Spanish, and students can complete their coursework (including albums), communicate with the trainer, and request to complete oral and written exams in Spanish. This is especially valuable if you work in a bilingual or immersion classroom setting, or if your first language is Spanish. If there is a significant cohort of Spanish speakers in a course, a translator may be provided.
Additionally, in the fall of 2017, SIMS will welcome its first Chinese cohort, offering translation into Chinese, Chinese albums and exams, individualized planning for observation and practice teaching, and an exciting American experience. If you're a student from China, we’ll set up your accommodations in Phoenix, match you with a local student to help you settle in, make sure you feel at home by introducing you to nearby Chinese food markets, and organize optional visits to exciting places like the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
Whether you've been observing typical education through your own children, through nannying or childcare work, or through a traditional pathway to an education degree, you may have found yourself thinking, “There has to be a better way.”
The child who enters the world is filled with curiosity, driven by what Maria Montessori called an “inner teacher” to learn and grow and thrive, in a natural, joyful process of self-discovery. Traditional education too often stifles this spark in children, while Montessori schools entice children with fascinating materials and activities, and inspire their natural desire to explore the world with all of their senses.
The Montessori Method
Designed for Human Development
Rather than fighting human nature, Montessori embraces and elevates the child’s natural tendencies, enhancing the child’s innate desire to learn and gain independence. The real-world result is a child who is extremely confident with language, who is mathematically intuitive, and who is much more independent—a child in love with learning. An ever-growing body of powerful brain and educational research supports the techniques used in Montessori classrooms as among the most effective tools in educating children.
Montessori teachers are trained to observe closely, watching for developmental stages, areas of special interest to the child, and particular activities that inspire deep concentration, enthusiasm that results from new discoveries, or challenges that a particular child is experiencing.
The Montessori Method
An Environment for Learning
Montessori describes the child’s message to the adult: “Help me to do it by myself!” The Montessori classroom, carefully prepared for each age, is designed to do just that. The innovation at the foundation of the Montessori approach is the idea that learning thrives in a prepared environment that entices and inspires children, so that their own natural curiosity drives learning and growth as they develop a powerful internal drive to learn.
In the Montessori classroom, as children ages 2½ – 6+ choose their own tasks, learning comes not from a curriculum, but from the child’s own activity. Lessons are designed to inspire the child to explore and repeat a challenging exercise that engages the hands in connection with the mind.
The Montessori Method
A Compass for Life
Montessori children learn to socialize and interact with grace — skills that apply to their lives well beyond the classroom.
Because Montessori classrooms are mixed age groups, children experience natural peer relationships, develop into confident leaders, and practice consideration for others. Younger children look up to and emulate older peers, and older children step up as mentors or role models in the class.
The ultimate goal of a Montessori education is authentic, holistic independence. Montessori children gain the knowledge, confidence, creativity, and social ability that allow them to choose their own goals, whatever they may be, and pursue them over time. These are the qualities of character and mind that add up to a fulfilling adult life.