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The Humanistic Education Program is a teacher training curriculum which draws students from colleges across the United States and educators and childcare professionals from many countries who are interested in non-traditional educational philosophy and methodology. The school also provides training for professionals in teaching, counseling, psychology, social change and organizational development.

The program is centered around a practicum at the school, with supplemental seminars and workshops on such topics as human development, child initiated curriculum, anti-bias issues and peaceful conflict resolution.

Interns are individuals interested in receiving intensive, hands-on experience, fulfilling a practicum or working toward a teaching position. Housing is sometimes available.

Who Are We Looking For?

We are looking for people who are intellectually curious, self-disciplined, energetic, personally stable, and enjoy challenging work. Interns must be open to new ideas, willing to question, challenge and listen. Experience with children is helpful, but not necessary.

The Learning Process for Interns

The intern experience at Play Mountain is deeply meaningful and often life changing. An intern’s learning path parallels that of the student’s in that you learn by doing and experiencing, by self-reflection and self-determination, at your own pace, setting your own goals.

Working alongside experienced teachers provides you with modeling of Play Mountain skills and philosophy. After-school meetings help you integrate intellectually and emotionally what you are experiencing in the program with the children.

All staff, including interns, needs support to learn to work in this way with children. In order to provide some of this support, the intern program includes attendance at the following meetings:

SEMINAR (weekly): Focuses on issues that face teachers and interns on a daily basis. It is a place to practice the skills needed to be a Play Mountain teacher as well as to gain knowledge in child development, humanistic education and curriculum development in a free school. Questions about Play Mountain philosophy are opened up through dialogue, discussion and role-playing.

STAFF MEETING (weekly): Staff meet to plan the children’s program, to plan the parent education program which includes conferences and parent meetings, and to work on team building. A monthly-facilitated process meeting supports and encourages staff to explore work-related issues and concerns regarding each other and themselves.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS WORKSHOP: This four-session workshop introduces the basic skills of active listening, setting limits with genuineness and without punishment or blame, and non-authoritarian conflict resolution.

Our internship program has been valuable to students interested in:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Peace studies
  • Alternative education
  • Psychology
  • Child development
  • Parenting methods
  • Public policy and anti-bias studies

What An Intern Does

Through participation in daily activities, the intern receives intense training in the following areas:

  • Child development
  • Experiential learning
  • Communication skills
  • Group dynamics
  • The function of play in childhood
  • Therapeutic play in an educational environment
  • Methods of teaching skills and concepts in a free environment
  • Structuring for freedom and responsibility

For internship opportunities, please contact us at
323-870-4381 or

Support our long tradition of innovative, child-initiated, experiential education.