I. What is PAMS Accreditation
The Pan American Montessori Society (PAMS) accreditation process is designed to facilitate a school’s efforts to achieve and maintain excellence in the implementation of the research based, proven Montessori System of Education.
School accreditation is considered by the educational community to be an activity, not a status. Every accredited school is expected to be an excellent yet constantly improving institution that is worthy of trust and confidence.
The Pan American Montessori Society awards Accreditation status to schools that have achieved a high level of adherence to authentic Montessori principles, and are committed to providing children with high quality Montessori educational experiences.
Pan American Montessori Society School Accreditation offers many benefits.
- You will gain an opportunity to involve the entire school in a process of team building. With the Accreditation Self-Study as the catalyst, your administration and faculty will work together to answer such important questions as: What makes us an authentic Montessori school? and How does our implementation of Montessori pedagogy measure up to our ideals and values?
- You will receive increased public recognition of the high standards by which your school operates.
- Your enhanced reputation will provide greater opportunities for your school to keep the families that are currently enrolled and additional opportunities to enroll new ones.
- You will achieve a higher level of recognition by the Montessori Community of Interest and the public at large.
- You will demonstrate your commitment to excellence, accountability and professional growth.
- You will receive support and guidance from PAMS 40 years of experience and wisdom.
- You will receive recognition as an essential part of the PAMS international network of schools, Teacher Education Centers, Alumni, members and supporters.
II. Overview of Accreditation Standards and Criteria
Standard I: The School Adheres to PAMS Montessori Standards and Criteria
- The Montessori Prepared Environment:
- Each Prepared Environment is based upon reality and order and is clean, complete, beautiful, peaceful, calm and safe.
- It is fully equipped with beautiful self-correcting, scientifically designed Montessori teaching/learning materials for all of the required areas.
- The materials are classified, ordered and sequenced on the shelves according to the stages of development and the particular interest or skill they are designed to serve.
- There is no clutter of backpacks, shoes, or other objects anywhere in the classroom.
- The classroom walls are not filled up with excessive displays of children’s work samples or “teacher decorated” bulletin boards or white boards, which provide dissonant visual overstimulation that is enervating and distracting to the children.
- The Montessori Guide:
- Honors the child
- Respects and responds to the child’s need for order
- Provides education through movement
- Provides sensory based education
- Responds to the child’s Sensitive Periods of Development
- Invites the child to repeat an activity as many times as s/he feels the need to do so
- Observes and respects the child’s joy that is the product of his/her work
- Follows the child and records his/her development through observation
- Respects and responds to the child’s Inner Teacher
- Provides developmentally appropriate individualized instruction
- Provides purposeful activities that provide action and interest
- Nurtures the child’s natural sense of wonder
- Provides choices but never imposes rewards and punishments
- Appreciates and responds to individual differences
- Celebrates language and cultural diversity
- Helps the child to do things for himself
- Helps the child to develop concentration
- Helps the child to develop competence in caring for himself and his environment
- Helps the child to achieve independence from the adult
- Helps the child build character and personality
- Helps the child to develop and enjoy grace and courtesy
- Helps the child to achieve his/her highest potential
- Provides children with long periods of uninterrupted work: 2.5 to 3 hours each day
- The Children:
- Are in mixed age groups: (3-18) months, (1.5-3), (2.5-6), (6-9), (9-12), (12-15) years.
- Work without compulsion
- Are free to repeat spontaneously as many times as they feel the need to do so
- Experience more joy through work than in purposeless play
- Enjoy freedom of choice and develop responsibility
- Benefit from peer tutoring
- Are assisted in their cognitive, affective and social development through interactions with their normalized peers
- Accept error as a natural part of learning
- Respect the Guide the environment and each other, indoors and out
- Achieve independence, self-discipline and self-realization through work
- Are transformed through the emergence and development of concentration
- Achieve their highest potential through creative acts of self-construction.
Standard II: Mission, Educational Philosophy, and Goals
A PAMS accredited school must have guidelines by which it operates. These guidelines must be in the form of clearly written statements regarding the school’s mission, its educational philosophy, and its short-term and long-term goals.
Standard III: Governance, Administrative and Legal Operations
The development of sound administrative practices and leadership ensures ethics, stability, workplace safety, and continuity in the operation of a PAMS accredited school. These practices must be clearly stated for the benefit of both clients and staff.
The school has implemented effective governance practices and has established support systems to ensure the long-term viability of the school.
The school meets all requirements established by state and local authorities.
Standard IV: Fiscal Management and Accountability
A PAMS accredited school must show financial viability for continuing operation through the development of sound fiscal plans and systems.
Standard V: Personnel
The administrators of a PAMS accredited school must have the appropriate education, training, and experience to manage a stable educational institution.
The teaching staff must have the appropriate Montessori preparation and certification to teach at the level for which they have been employed. Non-instructional personnel must have appropriate job-related qualifications as well.
Standard VI: Student Policies and Procedures
The school provides accurate and comprehensive information to enrolled families. The school must show that it has implemented appropriate and effective student policies sufficient to operate a quality Montessori program in accordance with accepted educational practices and state and local regulations.
Standard VII: PAMS Montessori Pedagogical Standards
The school consistently implements Montessori practices:
- Montessori certified lead teacher serve in every class
- Properly Prepared Classroom Environments: The classrooms are set up according to Montessori Standards and are structured and complete. The Montessori Prepared Environment at the school is structured to provide the following key elements:
- Freedom and discipline
- Structure and order
- Reality and nature
- Simplicity and beauty
- The Montessori materials
- Normalized children
- Responsible life in community
- Student/Teacher Ratios and Number of children in each classroom
- Infants (4:1) with a maximum of 12
- Toddlers (6:1) with a maximum of 18
- Primary (14:1) with a maximum of 28
- Elementary (15:1) with a maximum of 30
- Middle School (1:15) with a maximum of 30
Note: totals may differ based upon requirements of government authorities.
- Age Ranges:
- Infants (3 to 12) months
- Toddlers (12-15+) months
- Primary (2.5-6) years
- Lower Elementary (6-9) years
- Upper Elementary (9-12) years
- Middle School (12-15) years
- Uninterrupted work periods
- Toddlers: 2 hours per day a minimum of 3 days per week
- Primary: 3 hours per day every morning
- Elementary and Middle School: 3 hours per day every morning and 2 to 3 hours at least 3 afternoons per week. Two afternoons are made available for special subjects and activities.
- Provide evidence of student record keeping.
- Provide evidence of the methods used by teachers to record the development of each individual child in the classroom.
- Describe the method used to track individual students from one level to the next.
- Submit templates used in record keeping.
A PAMS Model Schedule
7:00 a.m. Children who arrive early are received in an extended day classroom where they
socialize, play, work and eat (if breakfast is served).
8:00 a.m. Older children (4-5) go to their Montessori classrooms where the Guide works with them with advanced materials.
9:00 a.m. Younger children (2.5-4) join the class and work alongside the older ones
11:00 a.m. Circle Time: teacher tells a story or presents a group activity – some children who are especially engaged will continue to work individually.
11:30 – 12:15 p.m. Recess
12:15 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Nap Time
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Art, Music, Dance, Swimming, etc. programs are scheduled.
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. After School Activities
Standard VIII: Curriculum Implementation and Instructional Program
The school adheres to PAMS comprehensive, research based curriculum and instructional program based on the Montessori philosophy. The standards are clearly defined for the benefit of the children, parents, staff and the educational community. The school may use collateral programs in the afternoons if they are congruent and compatible with authentic Montessori practices.
Required Core Curriculum Subject Areas
- Practical Life: Motor Development and Refined Control of Movement through Exercises of Practical Life.
- Sensorial: The Sensorial Foundations of Intellectual Life.
- Language: The Development of Language and Literacy in One of More Languages through a Structured Sequence of Activities.
- Math: The Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind.
- Culture and Science: The Development of Cultural and Scientific Skills and Interests.
- Music: The Cultivation of Listening, Sight Singing and Notation with the Montessori Bells and Boards.
- Peace Curriculum: The Implementation of the Peace Curriculum.
Standard IX: Facilities, Instructional Materials and Equipment
The school must provide quality facilities, materials and equipment, and learning resources appropriate for the age levels of the children it serves.
Standard X: Advertising and Publications
All advertising and school publications must be presented in a truthful and professional manner.
III. Levels of School Accreditation
- Application Status is awarded to a school that has sent in its Application documentation but needs to submit additional information before an On-Site Verification Visit can be scheduled.
- Provisional Accreditation Status is awarded for 1 year to the school that has established policies and procedures that can lead to competency in achieving Basic Accreditation Status.
- Accreditation with Stipulations Status is awarded for 2 years to the school that meets basic requirements for accreditation but must improve competence in specific areas in order to achieve Full Accreditation Status.
- Full Accreditation Status is awarded for 4 years to the school that demonstrates full competency in implementing PAMS Accreditation Standards and Criteria.
- School of Distinction Status is awarded for 5 years to the school that fulfills all of PAMS Accreditation Standards and Criteria in every area and in every classroom in an exemplary manner and can serve as a role model for other school
IV. PAMS Accreditation of a Classroom in a Traditional School
The Pan American Montessori Society has developed a unique program to help schools make the transition from a traditional teaching program to the Montessori System of Education. A school that wishes to begin this process by accrediting one classroom or one three age level can earn PAMS Qualified Classroom Status as evidence that a particular classroom implements the PAMS Accreditation Standards and Criteria. This designation applies only to a particular classroom as long as it continues to effectively implement the PAMS standards and criteria. This status is awarded sequentially for 1, then for 2, and finally for 3 years, after an onsite visit from a PAMS examiner.
V. How To Submit an Application
A school seeking PAMS Accreditation can secure the corresponding instructions and application on the Society’s official website: www.montessori-pams.org.
The submission of an application indicates that the school wishes to receive a PAMS On-Site Visit. The cost of the On-Site Evaluation Team (OSET) visit is dependent upon many factors: distance the team needs to travel, the number of classrooms to be inspected and the length of time required for their visit. The school submitting the Application pays expenses for visits by an On-Site Evaluation Team.
The school can submit the filled out the application and required forms as attachments to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email Subject Line should read: “Accreditation Application.” When these documents have been received, the school will be sent a link to PayPal with which to pay the $200 Application Fee.
If a review of the application documentation indicates that additional information is required, PAMS will provide a list of criteria that must be met before an On-Site Evaluation Team visit can be scheduled. The school will be given the criteria list via email and will also be provided with a link to pay the annual $250 pre-accreditation fee. The school must submit all of the documentation requested within one year so that an On-Site Verification Visit can be scheduled.
When the school is approved for an onsite visit, the school is required to schedule an onsite visit within 90 days of the approval date. When the On-Site Evaluation Team (OSET) has concluded its visit, a copy of its report to PAMS will be forwarded to the school together with information regarding the accreditation level that the school has achieved. The OSET Report will also indicate the improvements that the school needs to achieve in order to reach a higher level of Accreditation Status. An email link will also be provided with which the school can pay the annual accreditation fee.
VI. Application and On-Site Fees
Number of Classrooms
OSET Visit Fee*
*On-Site Evaluation Team Visit expenses must be added to above OSET Fee.
VII. Annual Accreditation Fees
|Qualified Classroom Status||
|Provisional Accreditation Status||
|Accreditation with Stipulations Status||
|Full Accreditation Status||
|School of Distinction Status||