School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Meredith Park


public Montessori, novice teacher, teacher preparation, practicum support, transition theory




The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe novice Montessori teachers' practicum experiences in public Montessori schools in the United States. Through the lens of Schlossberg’s transition theory, this study sought to answer the central research question: How do novice Montessori teachers describe their experience in public Montessori teaching practicums? Sub-questions sought to identify the expectations of novice Montessori teachers as they moved into the experience, as well as the supports available or unavailable and coping strategies employed as they moved through the experience. This qualitative transcendental phenomenological research explored the central phenomenon of 10 novice Montessori teachers’ practicum experiences in public Montessori schools in the United States. This study employed epochè, transcendental-phenomenological reduction, imaginative variation, and intuitive integration analysis and synthesis of three sources of data collection: journal prompts, individual interviews, and letter writing. Three themes emerged that the public Montessori practicum experience as Moving In – Preconceptions, Moving through – Victories and Defeats, and Moving Out – The Journey Beyond. The essence of the public Montessori practicum experience was depicted as a journey of hurdles and growth toward a finish line that extends beyond the practicum and continues throughout the teacher’s public Montessori career.

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