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Why pursue Elementary Training at Montessori Institute of San Diego?

  • AMI Montessori elementary teachers are in high demand – advance your career today.
  • Course runs for 9 months (1 academic year), or 3 summers.
  • Programs will be led by world-renowned AMI elementary trainer, Greg MacDonald.
  • Dynamic campus includes onsite AMI school for ages 18 months to 12 years.
  • Space is limited and complete applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend applying as soon as possible in order to secure your space. 

Meet Greg MacDonald, Director of Elementary Training

MISD is thrilled to have Greg MacDonald on-board as the Director of Training for our permanent academic year and summer elementary training programs. Greg has 19 years of broad experience as a public school elementary teacher, AMI primary and elementary teacher, and principal of both traditional and Montessori schools. And he has been training AMI elementary teachers for another 20 years on top of that!

Greg has worked with adult students since 1993 in the United States, Canada, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and Mexico.  Over the years, he has followed the professional progress of his alumni and used their feedback to tailor his course to the unique needs of today’s workplace.  Greg is passionate about his subject matter and equally committed to making it accessible to his students.  It is this combination of expertise and approachability that sets him apart as a truly exceptional trainer.


What People are Saying About Greg MacDonald

“Our training was not only awesome and innovative, but also very humane. Thanks again!” – alumnus

“My peers are amazed at what we covered, what we were given, and the positive attitude that I brought forth from my training. I get the feeling that we had the best of the best.” – alumnus

“I am having a wonderful time meeting the challenge of putting into action all the lessons imparted… I AM LOVING IT! Our parents have become excited about what we offer day to day.” – alumnus who started her own school

“I just wanted to thank you for your time and presentation this past Tuesday… The work you have done on this topic is invaluable.  I so wish that it had been a part of my training.  However, I found it very helpful even after having almost 20 years in the classroom.  This would be an amazing (and I am sure very well attended) topic if you offered it at a conference along with your presentation on communicating with parents.  Thank you again for offering these evenings which to me are like mini refresher courses.  I have already used some of your ideas and recommendations with the children and have seen positive results.” – Montessori elementary teacher

“THANK YOU so much for coming to ‘our neck of the woods’ and for an astoundingly good workshop! I appreciated that you were able to speak thoughtfully and from experience to all levels of Montessori from infant/toddler through adolescents, as well as from the perspective of guide and administrator… I really related to what you had to say in the area of communication with parents especially.  Lastly, I LOVED your anecdotes!  You kept it interesting all day long with your great stories, and it was obvious that you really know your stuff.  I learned a lot, and my Montessori batteries got recharged, and I’m grateful!  – attendee at teacher workshop

Wondering if a career in Montessori elementary is right for you? This video could help you decide.


In the Elementary (age 6-12) Montessori teacher training, you will study and engage in…

  1. Montessori philosophy, child psychology, and practices of education: a progressive course of lectures will lead you through the essentials of Dr. Montessori’s groundbreaking educational theory, in particular as it applies to elementary education.
  2. Advanced Montessori curriculum in core areas of the elementary classroom.
  3. Practical use and exploration of the wealth of specially-designed manipulative materials developed by Dr. Montessori for the elementary classroom.
  4. Supervised practice sessions with the manipulative materials, under the guidance of qualified trainers.
  5. Observational skills: The skill of carefully and systematically observing elementary children in order to better understand and guide each student as an individual. This will include guided observations in AMI Montessori elementary classrooms.
  6. Supervised practice teaching in a fully equipped Montessori elementary classroom environment, under the supervision of the Montessori elementary teacher trainers.
  7. Montessori in practice: how to apply Montessori principles to classroom management in an elementary classroom.
  8. Practical guidance for establishing, equipping, normalizing, and operating a Montessori elementary classroom.
  9. Practical seminars in materials-making, so that you will have the skills needed to enrich your elementary classroom while staying true to Montessori principles.


Sample Lecture Topics

Greg Macdonald is dedicated to providing students with comprehensive preparation for their work with children through the use of practical techniques and strategies based firmly on fundamental Montessori principles.   In addition to offering the full AMI elementary teacher training program, this course is further complemented by intensive practical preparation for success in the classroom—a continually growing series of lecture presentations and discussions including the following topics:

  • Communication Techniques for Adults and Children
  • Working with Challenging Children
  • Conducting a Parent Conference
  • How to Plan and Deliver a Parent Information Presentation
  • Practical Life in the Elementary
  • Grace and Courtesy in the Elementary
  • Administrative Issues
  • Techniques and Strategies for Working with Older Children: How to Deliver a Presentation
    • Advanced Research Skills and Strategies
    • Exploring the Disciplines
    • Advanced Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
    • Study Directions for the Upper Elementary Child 
  • The “Silent Journey”
  • The First Day and the First Week
  • Planning and Records
  • Observation and Work Curves in the Elementary

Other lectures featured in the training course include:

  • Transitioning from the Casa dei Bambini to Elementary
  • Literacy: How to Teach Reading, Writing and Spelling the Montessori Way
  • Numeracy: How to Teach Basic Arithmetic to Elementary Children who Have not Acquired These Skills in the Casa dei Bambini
  • Written Expression: Genres, Techniques and Skills
  • Drama
  • Physical Education in the Montessori Elementary Class
  • Guiding a Nature Walk
  • Tessellations
  • Fractals
  • Music – The full Montessori music program, as designed by Maria Montessori and her collaborators, is presented. This is complemented by the weekly introduction of songs suitable for elementary children.

Beyond this core course of study, MISD is also offering a range of supplemental features to enhance your experience in the elementary teacher training, including…

  • Going out (the Montessori concept of learning beyond the classroom) is brought to life as students plan and execute their own Going Out expeditions using the rich San Diego environment.
  • Mentored role-playing exercises prepare students for the many challenges that they will face during their career. Students work together, taking on the roles of elementary guide and children as common classroom situations are explored, with guidance from Greg MacDonald and his faculty.  
  • At MISD, students don’t just learn about parent meetings—they actually prepare and deliver a parent meeting presentation to their fellow students and MISD faculty.
  • The elementary training course offered at MISD includes lectures covering the full Montessori continuum from birth to age 18, giving students vital contextual appreciation of the elementary child at his particular stage in development, featuring special guest lectures from our resident Assistants to Infancy and Primary trainer, Dr. Silvia Dubovoy.


School Sponsorship Discounts

Are you a school administrator who has just learned that your elementary guide is leaving? Does your school plan to start its first elementary classroom in the near future, or to add additional classrooms to retain graduating primary students?

The demand for Montessori-trained elementary guides has outstripped supply each year, meaning that every year, some schools have been forced to employ teachers who are not Montessori trained. By sponsoring a student for AMI elementary training, you can plan wisely for your school’s future and ensure that you will have the highest quality teachers to make your school’s vision a reality.

How Does it Work?

Every year MISD is approached by prospective students who are committed to Montessori training, who are able to move anywhere in the country once they have received their diploma, but who do not have the financial resources to obtain the training. You can sponsor one of these prospective students, or you can sponsor a student from your own community whose work you already know and like.

MISD elementary training will give your future employee crucial skills in the following areas:

  • Dealing with Challenging Children (i.e. Discipline in a Montessori Elementary Environment)
  • Working with Parents (students actually prepare and deliver parent information presentations during the course)
  • Role Playing Typical and Extreme Classroom Situations 
  • Implementing the “Silent Journey” in the Elementary Environment.

Please contact the MISD office for more information.—–

Alumni Support

MISD elementary alumni have access to their training faculty long after they have earned their diplomas.  Advice and support is just a phone call or email away. MISD alumni are welcome to visit and to repeat lectures and presentations as needed for their own professional development or greater insight. Local alumni can also stay connected and inspired through becoming album readers and assisting the faculty to review current students’ written work.



Teachers, administrators, and anyone interested in the elementary course are welcome to audit lectures free of charge during the 2018-2020 summer sessions. Contact the MISD office for details and to schedule your visit.

Contact the Trainer

Greg MacDonald is happy to answer emails from prospective students, administrators or anyone interested in the program. Feel free to contact him directly at greg@misdami.org. For more information or to speak with alumni, email us at training@misdami.org or call (858) 535-0500 ext. 101.


Ask Alumni

Two recent alumni are available to answer your questions about their experience as students in the AMI Elementary training program and/or Greg MacDonald’s training style.

  • Monteserrat Friedrich invites you to contact her in English, Spanish, French or German.
  • Charley Myers is based in the United States and is happy to correspond in English.



Recent Course

Elementary Summer Format
Director of Training: Greg MacDonald

Foundation Courses
July 26 – August 11, 2017 (2 1/2 weeks)
Silvia C. Dubovoy, Ph.D, Polli Soholt
June 20 – July 6, 2018 (2 1/2 weeks), 8:00am – 4:00pm
Silvia C. Dubovoy, Ph.D, Ruth Stephens

Elementary (summers) 2018-2020
July 9 – August 10, 2018 (5 weeks)
June 17 – August 9, 2019 (8 weeks)
June 15 – August 7, 2020 (8 weeks)
Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm