The National Diploma in Early Childhood Development recognises that training in early childhood education with a Montessori specialisation requires a breadth of understanding and a 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 (SACE).


This course has been structured in such a way that all coursework (detailed below) must be completed within a two-year period. Course modules and resources are held on the Student Portal to which all students have access. Full timetables are provided at the beginning of the course and students must ensure that all required work is completed within the stipulated timeframes.

  • Orientation and Montessori Biography
  • Develop and Academic Literacy 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
  • Creativity
  • Observation and Assessment
  • Diversity, Special Needs and Inclusion

Lectures & Attendance

The National Diploma is delivered as a blended course that combines online lectures with class-based practice.

There will be one course start date in 2024 – February.

Limited places are available in each intake and course applications close as soon as capacity has been reached.



As part of the course requirements, students will be required to undertake and pass two 3-hour theory examinations and one practical examination. The theory examinations are undertaken on a secure online platform, whilst practical examinations are done on-campus.

Professional Placement

This qualification includes a compulsory professional placement in a Montessori setting of at least 420 hours (approximately 16 consecutive weeks) at the end of the second year 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 Mentor from the setting as well as a Placement Tutor allocated by Montessori Centre South Africa.

MCSA assists with the placement of students for this part of the coursework requirements. Placements must be made within a 30km radius of an MCSA campus. Should external placements be required, additional travel costs will be charged to the students.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants for the National Diploma course must:

  • Be aged 18 years or over.
  • 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).
  • Have access to a tablet, laptop or desktop computer, be computer literate, and have reliable Internet access and sufficient data.

Application Process


  • Complete the application form and submit this online with the required supporting documents and the non-refundable application fee of R600.
  • On application you will be required to write a short literacy and numeracy entrance assessment. This is done online.
  • An appointment will be made for a Zoom interview where the course requirements will be discussed and prospective students have the opportunity to ask questions in order to make an informed decision about the course of study.
  • Successful applicants will then receive an offer of enrolment upon which the enrolment documents will need to be submitted with the payment of the enrolment fee in order to secure a place.


Item Price Payable
Enrolment fee R5 500 On enrolment
Course fee R37 800 Payable on enrolment. Arrangements may be made to pay off this amount in 18 instalments of R2 100.
Theory Paper 1 R900 30 days prior to the exam date.
Theory Paper 2 R900 30 days prior to the exam date.
Apparatus Workshop and Practical Exam R6 000 30 days prior to the workshop date.
Professional Placement fee R6 000 Payable upon registration for the professional placement.
Total Cost R57 100