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Online National Diploma In Early Childhood Development (3 – 6 years)

Course Details

The National Diploma in Early Childhood Development recognises that training in early childhood education with a Montessori specialisation requires a breadth of understanding and varied set of skills as well as specific attitudes to children.

The two-year Level 5 National Diploma in Early Childhood Development (SAQA ID: 23118) will allow graduates to work as fully qualified early childhood educators in South Africa and to register with the South African Council for Educators.

There will be THREE intake opportunities in 2022 with limited places.

  • February 2022 – FULLY SUBSCRIBED
  • June 2022 – now enrolling
  • September 2022 – enrolments open

Once courses are fully subscribed, registrations will close and students will need to wait for the next intake.

This course has been structured in such a way that all coursework must be completed within a two-year period. Course modules and resources are held on the Online Learning Portal to which all online students have access. Full study timetables are provided and students must ensure that all required work is completed within the stipulated timeframes.

  • Orientation and Montessori Biography
  • Study Skills
  • Montessori Philosophy
  • Childcare and Health
  • Reflective Practice
  • Activities of Everyday Living
  • Child Development
  • Education of the Senses
  • Numeracy and Arithmetic
  • Literacy
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World
  • ECD in the South African Context
  • Classroom Management
  • Creativity
  • Material Making
  • Observation and Assessment
  • Diversity, Special Needs and Inclusion

Students have ongoing access to a Module Tutor for each section of the course. Each module has a dedicated peer and tutor forum and live video lecture sessions.

Please note that all video lecture sessions are compulsory as these hours form part of the final qualification requirements.

All online students must attend a two-week (99-hour) Apparatus Workshop during their course of study. These workshops are held bi-annually in Cape Town and Pretoria.

Students must make provision to attend the whole workshop in one continuous session and all lecture days must be attended in full.

As part of the course requirements, students will be required to undertake and pass two 3-hour theory examinations and one practical examination.

The practical examination is taken on the last day of the Apparatus Workshop, and the theory paper dates and times are noted on the timetable.

This qualification includes a compulsory Professional Placement in a Montessori school of at least 420 hours (16 consecutive weeks) during the second year of study.

Before registering for the Online course, it is important that students ensure that there is a suitable Montessori setting in their vicinity where they would be able to undertake their Professional Placement. Our preferred professional placement centres may be viewed by clicking here.

It is also important that students are aware that this placement must be done in 16 consecutive weeks, so provision will need to be made for this time.

This placement forms a central point of practical integration for the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes developed over the course of the training.

Students will be observed by a Placement Mentor from the setting as well as a Professional Practice Tutor allocated by Montessori Centre South Africa. Our tutors are located in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nelspruit and Pretoria. Placements must be made within an 80km radius of one of these centres. Should we be required to travel further afield, special arrangements will need to be made for the assessments that will incur additional charges.

Applicants for the National Diploma course must

• Be aged 18 years or over.

• Have access to a tablet, laptop or desktop computer, be computer literate and have reliable Internet access and data.

• Hold a Matric Certificate with a minimum of a Diploma pass. This means that students need to have passed 6 of the 7 subjects taken: 4 subjects must have been passed with at least 40%; Home Language must have been passed at 40% and there must be at least a 30% pass in the Language of Learning and Teaching.

• In the absence of a Matric Certificate as detailed above, students must provide proof of equivalence (i.e. for foreign school leaving certificates).

• Be a South African citizen or permanent resident (or hold a full and relevant visa for the duration of the course).

• Complete the application form on the MCSA website and submit it with all the supporting documents. A non-refundable application fee of R600 is to be paid upon application.

• Once the application and all documents have been received, the prospective student will receive a link to the Online Entrance Assessment, which will need to be completed as the next step of the application process. This is followed by a telephonic interview.

• Successful applicants will then receive an offer of study upon which the enrolment documents will be made available that will need to be submitted with the payment of the enrolment fee.

Once courses are fully subscribed, registrations will close and students will need to wait for the next intake.

Note: Only 20 positions are available for each intake.

We are currently enrolling for June 2022.


Enrolment Fee R5 500 On enrolment.
Course Fees R35 100 In 18 instalments of R1 950 payable by the 5th of each month.
Theory Papers 1 and 2 R1 800 All examination fees are payable 30 days prior to the exam dates detailed on the timetable.
Apparatus Workshop and Prac Exam R5 500 Payable upon registration for the workshop at least 6 weeks prior to the start.
Professional Placement Fee R5 500 Payable upon registration for PP.
Total Cost R53 400


I found the course to be extremely well structured and that the preceding module always left you well prepared for the next one. One often didn’t even need to access the internet for additional information as it was mostly included in the course material thereby making the course accessible to someone with limited internet speeds and access. The time allocated for each section was ample even with my schedule of only being able to study at night - I still met the deadlines on time. Help was always at hand via email and live chat and the scheduled group chat sessions were incredibly insightful in promoting critical thinking rather than having the answers handed to you. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the course, the content, and the help and support provided by MCSA and I look forward to doing further courses with them as they really helped me believe in myself as an adult learner that I have the ability to continue learning and teaching.

Vivienne du Preez
National Diploma Graduate - Online Studies

Having a full time job and becoming a first time mother, the MCSA online national diploma course was the perfect choice for me beginning my Montessori studies. The curriculum was well structured and enabled me to plan my day to day projects.  The support I received from my mentor and the director was indescribable.  It was great to say the least, and is the reason I am a qualified Montessori teacher today.  Thank you for assisting me along my journey.  Montessori Centre South Africa helped me to understand what education should really be about.

Bronwyn Fredericks
National Diploma Graduate - Online Studies

I live over 4 hours from the nearest training centre. I was searching for an online pre-primary course and found the MCSA Montessori one. Not knowing anything about the Montessori method, I was a little apprehensive. Signing up for the course has changed my views on education. Especially early childhood education. I have grown to love the MCSA family who are all the most wonderful people. The course is professional - a perfect mix of academic excellence, practical expertise and personal encouragement. I highly recommend it!

National Diploma Graduate - Online Studies

My journey studying an Early Childhood Development online diploma through MCSA was an amazing learning experience. The course is professionally and passionately run. I enjoyed learning about Maria Montessori's pedagogy- and having the opportunity to see it in action during my 420 hour practical. The online course is comprehensive and I received great guidance, loving support and thorough feedback.

Thank you MCSA!

Enya Maritz
National Diploma Graduate - Online Studies