Montessori Early Childhood Practice - FdA

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Why study this course?

This vocational course, delivered at Montessori Centre International (MCI) in central London, combines the expertise and international reputation of MCI with the best of London Metropolitan University's early childhood studies programme.

You can choose to study on the Level 5 foundation degree (FdA) full-time over two years, or study a Level 4 Certificate of Higher Education (HE Cert – either full-time over one year or part-time over two years). Both meet the current Early Years Educator requirements, which employers need. The Certificate of Higher Education is accredited by London Met but you should apply directly to Montessori Centre International. This course page is about the foundation degree, which you can apply to through London Met, though additional information about this course can be found on the Montessori website.

More about this course

The foundation degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice was developed to meet the demand in the workplace for well qualified Montessori early childhood specialists who can demonstrate high levels of professional competence, and apply knowledge and skills effectively in practice. It provides a foundation degree level qualification for the Montessori community.

The focus and context for the study of early childhood is the distinct philosophy and pedagogy of Montessori practice, and we aim to develop reflective practitioners who are forward thinking, responsive and ready to engage in contemporary early years discourse.

The Level 5 foundation degree is offered full-time over two years to new entrants. Full-time students attend MCI two or three days per week and are in professional placement in a Montessori setting two days per week.

If you have already studied with MCI and have either the former MCI International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy, or the current MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – birth to seven (Early Years Educator), you are awarded university credits (APL) and gain direct entry to Year 2 (Level 5). Choose to study either full-time over one year, or part-time over two years. You will need to be based in a group setting for an additional two days per week. 

The FdA provides a platform for students wishing to progress to the full Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) with scope to develop as graduate leaders and early years teachers.

Employability and work-based learning is a key aspect of the training. Students combine academic study with practical experience on assessed professional placements in Montessori settings. The vocational nature of the course fully meets the early years educator requirements and allows you to work as an early years practitioner with a Montessori specialism.


A range of assessments are used throughout the course to allow you to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and understanding. This includes essays, child studies, reflective accounts, oral presentations and collecting evidence in online portfolios, linking practical experience and theoretical understanding. 

There is a strong emphasis through all assessments on the relationship between practical, work related tasks and theoretical perspectives – which is in itself an important practical professional skill.

Fees and key information

Course type
UCAS code X311
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • you must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
  • GCSE Maths and English at grade C (grade 4) or above (or equivalent).
  • two A Levels, one of which must be at least a grade C/grade 4 or above (combined 48 UCAS points or above) or an equivalent stand alone subject (CACHE Level 3 Certificate/Diploma, BTEC, International Baccalaureate, etc).
  • candidates with English as an additional language must hold IELTS 6.5 (Academic).
  • For direct entry to Level 5, applicants must hold either the former MCI International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy or the current MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – birth to seven (Early Years Educator)

Please note that this course is not suitable for Tier 4 (international) students.

Accelerated study

Holders of the MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy are awarded 150 credits towards the FdA and study for a further 90 credits at Level 5 over two semesters.

Holders of the MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – birth to seven (Early Years Educator) are awarded 120 credits towards the FdA and study for a further 120 credits at Level 5 over two semesters. This includes an additional work-based module.

Modular structure

The focus of the foundation degree is the interplay between theory and practice. Knowledge, understanding and skills are integrated by learning in a work context, leading to the development of professional as well as academic skills and competence.

The course offers a holistic approach to the study of early childhood, incorporating multiple perspectives and a multi-disciplinary approach drawing on a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, education and health. Child development and observation are studied progressively throughout the programme with an emphasis on play as an integrating mechanism in young children’s development. Within the core construction of professionalism, perspectives such as children’s rights, children’s health and wellbeing, including child protection and disability, diversity and inclusion will be considered and applied.

Emphasis is placed on active learning with a gradual transition from more supported and guided study to more independent and self-directed learning. A variety of teaching and learning strategies are used, including workshops, lectures, seminars, guided reading, individual tutorials, independent study and opportunities for reflection on practice. Level 4 students participate in timetabled weekly practical workshops to develop competence and understanding in the use of the Montessori learning materials.

Teaching and learning strategies focus on workplace skills and professionalism. Observations, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of professional competence. You will, for example, develop an increasing range of observation skills and techniques; handle curriculum materials and make evaluations of curriculum approaches and resources. You will practise and reflect on techniques to promote effective interactions with parents/carers and other professionals.

Year 1 (Level 4) topics:

  • Montessori Early Childhood Curriculum 1 (30 credits)
  • Montessori Early Childhood Curriculum 2 (30 credits)
  • Perspectives on Children’s Development and Well-being (30 credits)
  • Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement 1 (30 credits)

Year 2 (Level 5) topics:

  • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in Early Childhood (30 credits)
  • Supporting Diversity in Early Childhood (30 credits)
  • Creative Thinking and Representation (15 credits)
  • Personal Social and Emotional Development (15 credits)
  • Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement (2) (30 credits).

What our students say

“Doing the Montessori Foundation Course was the best thing I could have done. It gave me the foundations and philosophy of teaching and what I believe in, which has supported me through my early childhood studies degree and now my PGCE. I couldn’t have asked for a better early years training course and tutors. It truly was an amazing experience.”
Lucilla Critchley, FdA student

After the course

The majority of students continue their studies on completion of the foundation degree, using it as a platform to gain an Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) degree, with an option to study further towards becoming an early years teacher or completing a PGCE.

The course also allows MCI graduates to develop their careers and access a degree level qualification which can allow them to move up to more senior roles as room leaders, lead practitioners or managers.

The international nature of the qualification allows graduates to work as Montessori educators in this country and abroad. Some students have opened their own Montessori settings or aspire to do so in the future. Many students choose to specialise in an area such as special educational needs or Montessori primary education.

MCI maintains strong collaborative links with the Montessori community and all students are invited to join the Montessori Schools Association (MSA) and attend the annual MSA conference. The regular consultation regarding the needs of the community leads to bespoke course development and continuing professional development training.

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Discover Uni – key statistics about this course

Discover Uni is an official source of information about university and college courses across the UK. The widget below draws data from the corresponding course on the Discover Uni website, which is compiled from national surveys and data collected from universities and colleges. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, information for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

UK/EU applicants for FdA September full-time entry must apply via UCAS unless specified otherwise. Applicants for the HE Certificate must apply directly to Montessori Centre International.

Applicants who hold the MCI International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy or the MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – birth to seven (Early Years Educator) and are seeking direct entry to Level 5 must apply to Montessori Centre International for this course. Please email:

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accept applications for full-time courses starting in September one year before the start of the course.

Our UCAS institution code is L68.

Visit UCAS for more details.

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