The alternative advantage – for students and teachers

Alternative educational programs can offer students wonderful opportunities to develop their academic, leadership and social skills. But many of these programs can't meet student demand because districts just don't have enough teachers who have completed the required specialized training.

Montessori programs are just one example. Primarily associated with preschool education, the Montessori method is an equally valuable approach to education at the elementary and even secondary levels. Montessori programs in BC's schools generally share a focus on self-directed and hands-on learning, multi-age classes, a cooperative learning environment and a holistic and integrated approach to teaching traditional subjects.

The programs are extremely popular and often have long waiting lists. Yet districts are unable to add new student spaces or expand existing programs because they just don't have enough Montessori-trained teachers to meet demand.

Educators who work in Montessori programs must meet the same academic requirements as all other educators in BC's public schools. In addition, however, they need to have completed a Montessori training program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) or the Montessori Elementary Credential Program (MECP). These types of programs are offered through many educational institutions, including the Vancouver School Board's Continuing Education program and numerous Montessori training schools in BC and beyond.

Educators who complete these programs are qualified to teach in Montessori classrooms in BC's schools. So if you're looking for work and want to broaden the number of positions you can apply for – or if the Montessori philosophy of education resonates strongly with your own pedagogical approach – you might want to consider the value of pursuing additional training in this alternative niche.