Montessori program expands to Waukesha

June 4, 2018 -- The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer its graduate Montessori teacher education program for early childhood in partnership with the Montessori School of Waukesha beginning this summer.

Students can take the courses for professional development, earn teaching credentials for Montessori early childhood and have the option to earn a Master of Science in education degree in Montessori.  Courses toward the elementary level credentials will begin in summer 2019.

"We are excited for the opportunity to offer our graduate Montessori education program in partnership with the Montessori School of Waukesha and are eager to provide the citizens of southeastern and south-central Wisconsin the chance to experience our unique educational curriculum,” said Michael Harris, dean of the UW-River Falls College of Education and Professional Studies.

The UWRF graduate program began in 2012 in response to a growing need across the state for individuals trained in the Montessori methods of teaching. The program is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated by the American Montessori Society (AMS). More than 30 students are currently enrolled and there are nearly 60 graduates of the program.

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori in 1907. There are an estimated 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide, 5,000 in the United States and a growing number in Wisconsin, mostly serving the educational needs of children age three years to 12 years.

UW-River Falls is the only university in the UW System offering a graduate pathway to earn Montessori credentials and one of only two public universities across the country with such a program, according to Linda Jacobson, program manager in the UWRF Continuing Education office.

Jacobson points to the growing need for qualified Montessori educators, especially in the southeastern part of the state, as the reason for expanding the program to Waukesha.

“Our partnership enables us to utilize the Montessori School of Waukesha’s fully equipped Montessori classrooms thereby making our graduate program more accessible in a geographic area where there is a high demand for Montessori credentialed educators,” she said. “There is no doubt that the Montessori movement is growing in Wisconsin and the need for Montessori educators will expand with it.”

The UWRF program appeals to both licensed Wisconsin educators in K-12 schools and individuals with a bachelor's degree who want to teach in private or public Montessori schools, Jacobson said. When all levels are offered in Waukesha, students may choose to complete a graduate Montessori credential at the Early Childhood, Elementary 1 or Elementary 1-2 level alone or in combination with a Master of Science in education – Montessori education degree. The program is eligible for financial aid.

"Because our program accommodates working adults by offering classes in a blended learning format of online coursework and face-to-face meetings just one weekend per month, we fully expect to draw students from the Milwaukee and Madison areas, as well as Green Bay and surrounding cities," said Jacobson.

Individuals interested in starting the early childhood level program in Waukesha this summer can take two courses:  MONT 712 Child Development (a fully online class and a prerequisite for a required fall term class) and MONT 710 Practical Life and Preparation of the Environment with online components July 15-Aug. 11 and face to face class meetings M-F July 30-Aug. 3. Both classes are two credits. Students admitted for graduate study may choose to take the classes for professional development and not pursue a degree.

For more information about the classes, tuition, admissions requirements and application process, visit, contact Jacobson at or call 1-800-228-5607.

UW-River Falls provides lifelong learners with academic, professional development and enrichment programs that are practical, flexible, convenient and affordable. A complete list of courses, course descriptions and online registration information is available at

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