postheadericon Overview of IMC School Accreditation

IMC School Accreditation offers a userfriendly program of school assessment and accreditation for the American and international Montessori school community.

The program enables Montessori schools of widely varying sizes and ages to evaluate program quality, instructional effectiveness, operational and financial health, facilities and site utilization, and future growth potential.

The primary purpose of the International Montessori Council School Accreditation program is to educate the administrators and trustees of in the Best Practices of Montessori Leadership used by the world’s most respected and successful Montessori schools.


Schools that are authentically Montessori in their practice are effective in their work with children and are worthy of public trust and confidence. The Best Practices place particular emphasis on the administration of key aspects of school operation, particularly those related to the quality and integrity of the school’s educational program and the health and safety of students and staff. The standards establish guidelines for policies, procedures and practices. The school is responsible for implementing those policies in a manner consistent with IMC standards on an ongoing basis.


A second purpose of the International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program is to provide the public with information that can assist them in the selection of schools that meet recognized standards of excellence in Montessori educational practice.

Accreditation does, however, indicate to the public that a school has voluntarily invited its programs, facilities, policies and procedures to be compared with the standards of Best Practice established by leaders in the international Montessori school accreditation community. At least once every ten years, an outside team of Montessori school professionals trained in the International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program visits the school to verify compliance with the standards.

These are the essential issues the program considers:
Is a school is worthy of public trust?
Is the school is clear in what it says it offers?
Does it actually do what it says?
Is it operated in a sound, stable, manner that deserves public confidence?
Does this school, which represents itself as a Montessori school, actually follow the criteria of authentic Montessori practice?

The International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program incorporates the characteristics of authentic Montessori programs developed by Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambush and Dr. John Stoops in their work The Authentic Montessori School (1992 Middle States Association and American Montessori Society).

This document identifies six basic areas that serve as a basic definition of those essential characteristics. They allow for tremendous diversity, while speaking to the central issue of what one should expect to find in a responsible school that wishes to represent itself as being a Montessori program.

The IMC Accreditation Self-Study Process Consists of Three Integrated Phases:

Phase 1 School Identity and Philosophy:

The school clearly defines its institutional identity, Montessori principles, enduring values and beliefs, and educational outcomes.

Phase 2 The Self-Study:

The School initiates a Self-Study, in which the school documents how it meets the basic characteristics and principles of BestPractice found in all excellent Montessori schools. This phase follows an easily understood, objective self-study approach.
Each standard is carefully laid out with examples and suggested resources. In most cases, schools will have access to sample policies, handbooks, and other resources on an accompanying series of CD-ROMS that can be adapted for individual schools.

Phase 3 The School Improvement Plan:

After the self-study is completed, the School develops a written strategic plan, in which the school prepares an ongoing plan for continuing to move the entire school(educational program, faculty, administration, facilities, membership and enrollment, marketing and public relations,fund raising and capital resource development, governance, finances) closer to its ideal as set forth in its vision and blueprint.


The Onsite Visit

Once the Self-Study is submitted and reviewed, an On-Site Visit is scheduled with the School and conducted by a team of IMC-trained visitors who will spend from two or three days on campus observing the school in operation and validating the information provided in the self-study report. This visit takes place when the school is in full operation during the regular academic year.
This process is repeated every ten years.

Steps in the IMC School Accreditation Process

1. If not already an active IMC member, school applies for membership in the International Montessori Council by completing appropriate membership form and signing the Statement of Compliance that is sent when the International Montessori Council receives the School’s application.

2.  Remit dues and fees as described in current membership materials.

3.  Attend a International Montessori Council School Accreditation Orientation workshop offered by either the national council or the regional or local chapter, which explains the process and describes the requirements for accreditation.
At the time of the accreditation visit, the school must be represented by at least one staff member who has completed the Orientation Course and has participated in the development of the Self-Study.

4.  Submit an application to become a candidate for International Montessori Council school accreditation, which includes an Institutional Profile, Mission Statement, Range of Programs, Numbers of Students, roster of Faculty & Staff, description of Ownership and Governance Structure and the School Accreditation Compliance Statement.The School pays the School Accreditation application fee, which is due at this time

5.  School is Accepted to Candidacy.

6. School chooses to either attend regional accreditation workshop or contract for pre-accreditation consultation. At least two representatives of the School are given a more thorough introduction to the School Accreditation process and are trained to serve as members of an On-Site Visiting Team. Over the next year they will be asked to serve as members of an On-Site Visiting Team to conduct an On-Site Visit to another IMC School.

7.  School organizes an Accreditation Self-Study Committee, which should include a broad cross section of the school community, including parents, teachers, non-teaching staff, older students, administrators, trustees, and others as appropriate. The Self-Study Committee is
organized into several sub-committees, coordinated by a Steering Committee. Over the next six to eighteen months, the Self-Study Committee develops the School’s Self-Study, responding to the standards and collecting written documentation as required. The committee also reviews and evaluates each area of school operation utilizing the guidelines in the standards.

8. School submits appropriate number of copies of the Self-Study as defined in IMC policy to the Director of IMC School Accreditation.

9.  Self-Study is reviewed for completeness by the Director of IMC School Accreditation.

10. On-Site Visiting Team is identified by the Director of IMC School Accreditation.

11. On-Site Visiting Team reviews School’s Self-Study.

12. The On-Site Visit is conducted by On-Site Visiting Team, a team of IMC-trained visitors who will spend from one to five days on campus observing the school in operation and validating the information provided in the self-study report. This visit will occur when the school
is in full operation during the regular academic year.

13.  On-Site Team Report Sent to School & International Montessori Council School Accreditation Commission.

14.  School Prepares Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and Submits to International Montessori Council School Accreditation Commission.

15.  International Montessori Council School Accreditation Commission Reviews Team Report & QIP.

16.  The International Montessori Council School Accreditation Commission Makes Accreditation Decision Eligibility for IMC School Accreditation.

Any IMC school member in good standing that has been in operation for at least three years may begin the accreditation process. New schools may want to use the School Accreditation Standards are a planning tool during their first years of operation, thereby essentially completing most, if not all of the self study process in advance. Once they have completed their third year of operation, they can apply and finish up any remaining steps in the self study document.

Accreditation Application Fee: $5/US per enrolled student (Minimum $100/US, maximum $500/US, for each site)

Cost of Preparing the Self-Study: Generally prepared by volunteers, with some level of secretarial support from the school office. The Self-Study will normally fill a large three-ring binder. The school will need to prepare several copies and send them to the IMC School Accreditation Commission officers.

The On-Site Visit: On-Site Visits normally run from two to three days and an On-Site Visiting team will normally be made up at least two team members. More visitors, and/or a longer on-site visit, will be needed depending on the size of the school facilities, the number of classrooms, and the age ranges of the programs offered. Each classroom will need to be observed for at least a full morning or afternoon by a Montessori educator qualified to evaluate programs at that age level. On-Site Visitors are volunteers and are not paid a daily honorarium. Schools cover the cost of their travel from their homes to and from the School, along with all costs of lodging and meals during their stay. Obviously the cost will vary depending on the number of visitors, the cost of their travel to and from the school, and the cost of local lodging and meals.

Continuing Accreditation Candidacy Fee: If the accreditation process is not completed in one year: $200/US, for each site Annual

Continuing Accreditation Fee: $200/US per site, in addition to the school’s annual IMC dues. Accredited schools must maintain their membership in the International Montessori Council.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:17)