Exploring Montessori-Inspired Educational Environments

Method of delivery:
(online & in-person)
Applications open:
December 1, 2022
Applications close:
July 17, 2023
Next start date:
Fall 2023

This Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) program has been developed in partnership with School District 43, Coquitlam.

Program Overview

Designed For

This Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) is designed for educators interested in inquiring into Montessori-inspired early learning educational environments, which support and nurture the unfolding of learner’s gifts and potentials. The program invites educators into a living inquiry directly related to enhancing their practice, deepen their understanding of early learning pedagogies, foster learners’ imaginations, and cultivate rich sensorial educational environments.

Program Format

  • Two-year, 30 unit program
  • Blended online and in-person learning every Wednesday (4:30-8:30).
  • Includes a one-week Summer Institute each August
  • No classes in July, during the winter break or ministry-designated spring break

Program Design

Themes of Study

  • Intentional design of instructional space and materials
  • Nurturing the unique gifts of each learner
  • Social-Emotional development and holistic well-being
  • Cultivating an environment of joy and engagement
  • Teacher as guide, observer, and facilitator of learning
  • Student independence and personal responsibility
  • Independent work and Individualization  
  • Cooperative learning and peer teaching
  • Experiential Learning and exploration of materials


Program capacities provide a reflective focus for documenting and self-assessing learning.  At frequent intervals throughout the program, participants and their mentors refer to the capacities to assess progress, to set new goals and to create direction for further learning in field studies.  At the end of the program, each participant’s comprehensive portfolio includes a synthesis of learning and self-assessment of growth in these capacities, supported by evidence of learning.  This program provides opportunities to develop these capacities:

  • Inquire into educational theories and philosophies to strengthen/deepen your practice.
  • Nurture engaging educational environments that foster joy, independence, and experiential learning
  • Demonstrate a disposition of inquiry and critical reflection to understand and develop your practice.
  • Cultivate reflective capacities that support holistic, social-emotional development and well-being
  • Foster holistic learning by educating the whole child (social-emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual)

Schedule & Courses

Classes run in the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms of the academic year during the 2-year program.

Year 1

Fall 2023 (September-December)

  • Frameworks for Early Learning
  • Main course: Foundations of Teacher Inquiry
    Optional Course for Montessori educators: Foundations of Montessori Inspired Pedagogies and Practices

Spring 2024 (January-April)

  • Holistic Approaches to Learning and well-being

Summer 2024 (April-June; August)

  • Learning through Exploration, Play and Materials

*You also attend a one-week in-person Summer Institute each year (August 12-16, 2024 & August 11-15, 2025). No classes are scheduled in July.

Year 2

Fall 2024 (September-December)

  • Main course: Differentiated Instruction and Personalized Learning
    Optional course for Montessori educators: Individualization and Experiential Learning

Spring 2025 (January-April)

  • Exploring Assessment for Holistic Learning

Summer 2025 (April-June; August)

  • Reflections on Teaching and Learning
  • Relationships for Learning

*You also attend a one-week in-person Summer Institute each year (August 12-16, 2024 & August 11-15, 2025). No classes are scheduled in July.

Program Collaborators

Faculty Members

District Partners

  • Nadine Tambellini, District Principal, Human Resources, SD #43 Coquitlam

Future Pathways

Where can this program take you? The world is changing rapidly and so is the full range of career and academic opportunities that await. 

TQS Upgrades

Completion of the diploma allows educators to move from TQS category 4 to 5 or from category 5 to 5+.

Further Studies

Use the credits you've earned completing your GDE program towards earning a Master of Education in Educational Practice (MEd EP). Learn more about the one-year MEd EP program.

Learn more about thIs Program

Curious to know more about the program?

Upcoming Information Sessions