PAMS Accreditation Guidelines

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.


II.     Overview of Accreditation Standards and Criteria


Standard I:    The School Adheres to PAMS Montessori Standards and Criteria

  1. The Montessori Prepared Environment:


  1. The Montessori Guide:


  1. The Children:


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:


  1. Montessori certified lead teacher serve in every class
  2. 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:
    1. Freedom and discipline
    2. Structure and order
    3. Reality and nature
    4. Simplicity and beauty
    5. The Montessori materials
    6. Normalized children
    7. Responsible life in community


  1. Student/Teacher Ratios and Number of children in each classroom
    1. Infants (4:1) with a maximum of 12
    2. Toddlers (6:1) with a maximum of 18
    3. Primary (14:1) with a maximum of 28
    4. Elementary (15:1) with a maximum of 30
    5. Middle School (1:15) with a maximum of 30


Note: totals may differ based upon requirements of government authorities.

  1. Age Ranges:
    1. Infants (3 to 12) months
    2. Toddlers (12-15+) months
    3. Primary (2.5-6) years
    4. Lower Elementary (6-9) years
    5. Upper Elementary (9-12) years
    6. Middle School (12-15) years


  1. Uninterrupted work periods
    1. Toddlers: 2 hours per day a minimum of 3 days per week
    2. Primary: 3 hours per day every morning
    3. 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.


  1. Provide evidence of student record keeping.
    1. Provide evidence of the methods used by teachers to record the development of each individual child in the classroom.
    2. Describe the method used to track individual students from one level to the next.
    3. 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


  1. Practical Life:  Motor Development and Refined Control of Movement through Exercises of Practical Life.
  2. Sensorial:  The Sensorial Foundations of Intellectual Life.
  3. Language: The Development of Language and Literacy in One of More Languages through a Structured Sequence of Activities.
  4. Math: The Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind.
  5. Culture and Science: The Development of Cultural and Scientific Skills and Interests.
  6. Music: The Cultivation of Listening, Sight Singing and Notation with the Montessori Bells and Boards.
  7. 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Full Accreditation Status is awarded for 4 years to the school that demonstrates full competency in implementing PAMS Accreditation Standards and Criteria.
  5. 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:


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 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*



$ 200

























         *On-Site Evaluation Team Visit expenses must be added to above OSET Fee.

VII.     Annual Accreditation Fees


Application Status


Qualified Classroom Status


Provisional Accreditation Status


Accreditation with Stipulations Status


Full Accreditation Status


School of Distinction Status