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Upgrade National Diploma

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 towards children.

This 12-month course is aimed at Montessori teachers who hold a historical Montessori-only qualification that has no national accreditation.

The level 5 National Diploma in Early Childhood Development (3 – 6 years) (SAQA ID: 23118) allows graduates to work as fully qualified early childhood educators in South Africa and to register with the South African Council for Educators (SACE).

  • Study Skills
  • Montessori Philosophy
  • Child Development
  • Activities of Everyday Living – refresher
  • Education of the Senses – refresher
  • Numeracy and Arithmetic – refresher
  • Literacy – refresher
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World – refresher
  • Childcare and Health
  • Diversity, Special Needs and Inclusion
  • ECD in the South African Context
  • Observation

The Upgrade course has been structured to allow working teachers to participate in the course without undue interference with their daily teaching responsibilities. For the most part, the course is designed to be studied online within the parameters of a structured submissions timetable.

All coursework, modules and resources are held on an interactive online student portal.  Each module includes live online lectures as per a structured timetable. There is one course intake for this upgrade diploma in February 2022.

Please note that all online lectures are compulsory as these hours form part of the final qualification requirements.

The upgrade course includes a compulsory intensive 10-day Apparatus Workshop, which covers all Montessori curriculum areas and classroom management. This workshop is held bi-annually in Cape Town and Pretoria and forms part of the final qualification requirements.

This qualification includes a compulsory Professional Placement in a Montessori school of at least 150 hours between during the course of study.

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 Tutor allocated by Montessori Centre South Africa (MCSA).

MCSA assists with the placement of students for this part of the course requirements. Placements must be made within an 80km radius of the centre. Should external placements be required, these will be charged to the students.

Applicants for the Upgrade to the National Diploma course must:

  • Be aged 18 or older.
  • 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).
  • Hold a previously acquired recognised Montessori 3-6 Diploma.
  • Be a South African citizen or a permanent resident or hold a full and relevant visa for the duration of the course.
  • Have access to a tablet, laptop or desktop computer, be computer literate and have reliable Internet access.

We are unfortunately not accepting applications for this course in 2022. 


We are unfortunately not offering this course in 2022.



As an MCI (UK) diploma holder, I did the MCSA Upgrade course in 2016. I could not have asked for a better training center. Susanne and Kirsty truly have a passion for what they do, they are always willing to offer support, constructive criticism and an encouraging smile when the assignments seem to get the better of us. Even after my course has ended I still have their full support and if I ever require any advice their assistance is just a phone call or email away.

I am currently working at a Montessori school Tirana, Albania, and now have wonderful opportunities to travel and explore the rest of the world - all thanks to MCSA!

Upgrade Course, 2016