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If you know anything about Montessori teaching, please come and talk to me!

(29 Posts)
Janni Sat 26-Jan-08 11:41:57

I wantto return to work next year and am interested in early years teaching.

Does anyone know which Montessori training institutes in London are the most respected and how easy is it to find work in a Montessori nursery upon completion of training? Is the pay lower than in the state sector?

MN is generally very positive about Montessori, but ARE there any horror stories? I would like to be forewarned!

Thank you

Janni Sat 26-Jan-08 20:40:54

Anyone? Bumpetty Trumpetty Bump. See? I could sing silly songs to the kids...

hercules1 Sat 26-Jan-08 20:43:12

DD is at montessori and we pay a lot more than a normal nursery. We are told this is because we have better qualified teachers teaching the montessori way so need better pay. I guess we must also have a good staff pupil ratio too.

SugarSkyHigh Sat 26-Jan-08 20:44:47

yes the pay is generally lower.

but I could never teach any other way!

Janni Sun 27-Jan-08 07:42:15

Sugarskyhigh - what is it you like so much about the Montessori Method?

JudgeNutmeg Sun 27-Jan-08 09:05:24

I would suggest that you contact you Early Years Department at your local council. They will be able to tell you which Montessori qualification is accepted under Ofsted guidelines. I trained with MCI and got half way through a distance learning course supported by a placement at a local nursery only for OFSTED to reject my course. Complete waste of time and money.

I am now studying, for free, a full time (2 days per week) Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies. I can add a year to the end and make it a full BA and then do PGCE or whatever I fancy or just start work with a fantastic qualification. The government wants a well qualified workforce for young children and will pay for the training.

With the benefit of 18 years of working in various aspects of education, I would be wary of training in one strict discipline only. I love Montessori and it is the foundation of much practice in Early Years but as an employer, I would look for an employee with a broad understanding of other educational methods as the Montessori method really doesn't work for every child.

That said, I did have a horrible experience of a really shite Montessori nursery where, frankly, the staff were wacky and covered many forms of bad pracice with the excuse of following 'The Method'. They didn't, they just colluded in bad practice which they had a hard time explaining away after I reported them.

Most Montessoris are staffed by lovely gentle folk, I just think that if you are set on Early years, get some professional advice and get the most current training. Best of luck, it is the best field to work in, IMO.

Janni Sun 27-Jan-08 12:25:06

Thanks JudgeNutmeg, I'll follow your advice, that's really helpful x

SugarSkyHigh Sun 27-Jan-08 13:31:06

my Montessori qualification is recognised by Ofsted as level 4. I am doing EYPS now.

and practiced properly, Montessori works for EVERY child. How can it not??!!

Janni - what do I like about the Montessori method? The fact that it RESPECTS the child. I observed in a mainstream nursery, there were different activities at different tables. After 15 mins, the teacher clapped her hands and shouted at the children to stop what they were doing and to move onto the next activity. They HAD to do this. That would NEVER happen in a (proper) Montessori school. If a child is absorbed in building a lego house, say, then he or she is given the time and space to complete it, without some gobby teacher telling him or her to go and do playdough NOW. This way, children learn to concentrate properly, and their achievements are valued.

hope this helps! smile

JudgeNutmeg Sun 27-Jan-08 14:23:03

I'm glad that your qualification is recognised, not all are. I was pointing out to the original poster that chosing one narrow discipline may not be the best idea for finding employment after qualification. Becoming a Montessori practitioner rules out a lot of alternative paths, especially with younger children and infants wheras a modern qualification leaves all paths open and may be fully funded. I understand that a level 3/4 qualification is a level 3/4 qualification but from an employers point of view, I would choose someone with a more rounded experience.

Over the next five years we will see many, many more family centers based in and around schools. With the best will in the world the ethos and curriculum of modern nurseries isn't going to be pure Montessori. The majority of chances to work with and support British children is going to be in the mainstream. My point would be that if I were just starting out in Early Years, I wouldn't limit my own opportunites by limiting the field I could eventually work in.

I love Montessori, I'm just giving realistic advice for someone looking to work in Early Years.

Janni Sun 27-Jan-08 14:35:07

I can see that you are both coming at this from a slightly different angle, but your opinions and experience are very useful. My gut feeling, having had some experience of work in playgroups and as a volunteer in reception classes is that I do not particularly want to work in the state sector, partly because of all the form-filling and covering your back that you have to do, which serves little or no educational purpose.

When my first child was a baby I did start doing a distance learning course in Montessori and was fascinated by the approach, but could not keep up with the work for various reasons. Then, weirdly, my children ended up at a Steiner school until I realised there was a lot about THAT approach which was very questionable.

JudgeNutmeg Sun 27-Jan-08 14:51:19

All the educational philosophies have their quirks don't they.

Working within the system helped me make my mind up to educate my kids differently too. Are you hoping to work in an independant school nursery? My children's school has an attached 'Montessori' pre-school which looks extremely un-Montessori to me. They mean well there though.grin I don't think that they escape the remit of Ofsted though, I know they were inspected last year but I'm not sure who by......paperwork is unavoidable I think.

Good luck anyway, I've never regreted pursuing a career in education.

SugarSkyHigh Sun 27-Jan-08 15:38:55

none of us escapes the remit of Ofsted i'm afraid!

oh yes Judge, i see what you mean: I would also advise someone to think carefully before embarking on Montessori training. It has worked for me though very well and I have worked in Montessori and non-Montessori settings (including teaching in London prep schools)- but I have NOT worked in the state sector, and they probably wouldn't have wanted me anyway! However, now I am getting early years professional status, which is supposed to be the same as QTS (qualified teacher status) but for the under fives. I have been accepted on the 3 month validation pathway because of my qualifications and experience. So the powers that be are obviously happy even though my experience is generally Montessori.

Look at this: http://education.guardian.co.uk/newschools/story/0,,1564642,00.html

it shows how Montessori has been adopted by the mainstream. This is going to be happening more and more!

SugarSkyHigh Sun 27-Jan-08 15:40:13

oh and Janni, we have LOADS of paperwork so Judge is right, it's pretty unavoidable even in the independent sector sad

SugarSkyHigh Sun 27-Jan-08 15:49:25

sorry that link didn't work did it -
here's another but I'm not very good at this!
About Montessori at a state school in Manchester:

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/montessori-the-startling-success- of-progressive-teaching-methods-470018.html

and at another state school in Essex:

www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23380751-details/School+celebrates+dramatic+change+in+ teaching+method/article.do

SugarSkyHigh Sun 27-Jan-08 15:50:06

i give up, i can't do links angry

Janni Sun 27-Jan-08 20:48:25

Thanks for trying Sugar - I'm sure I can track them down anyway! I'm in London and just wondered whether there was a particular training institution which was considered better than others? As I'm already 42 I do need to crack on and have sort of decided that I'm going to go the Montessori route, though I will look at other early years training before making my final decision,

SugarSkyHigh Mon 28-Jan-08 15:05:25

I would suggest montessori centre international
www.montessori.uk.com
but check with them re. ofsted recognising the courses, as it looks like JudgeNutmeg had problems in that direction. Perhaps JudgeNutmeg did a certain course, and other courses ARE ofsted recognised: please double check. I've certainly had no knowledge of problems in that area and we have had MCI trained people working at our school - but agaain, please check!

SugarSkyHigh Mon 28-Jan-08 15:07:48

I have just copied and pasted this for you from their website:

*A suitable qualification for employment in Early Years group care settings is defined by OfSTED as those who meet the national standards relating to staff qualification. These state that a manager or supervisor of a nursery or daycare centre has at least a level 3 qualification appropriate to the post. The MCI Early Childhood International Diploma and Infant Toddler International Diploma are both listed on the database at level 4.*

SugarSkyHigh Mon 28-Jan-08 15:10:23

there is also A.M.I. in Hampstead (MCI is in the west end) - they are quite strict and very 'pure' Montessori.........
42 yrs not too late, good luck! you will enjoy retraining, whichever route you take

KatyMac Mon 28-Jan-08 15:10:28

From September 08 all settings will be working within the EYFS anyway - so the paperwork will be identical - whether Childminder/nursery/montessori/playgroup etc

SugarSkyHigh Mon 28-Jan-08 15:34:36

we are incorporating the eyfs into our own montessori record keeping system so it will be our own version i.e. not identical to any other setting, but yes i take your point

Janni Mon 28-Jan-08 19:49:47

Thanks for taking the time to explain all this, ladies.

tess1e Sun 09-Mar-08 12:46:47

Sorry come into this so late!

Well run by properly trained staff, Montessori can really work and be a wonderful introduction to schooling for children in general but I have heard of a fair few horror stories to date about nurseries with only 1 qualified staff member there, who don't monitor the children enough and leave them completely to their own devices. 1 child I know got a kidney bean stuck up his nose and was very lucky to have survived as it swelled up in the nasal passage and wasn't spotted by staff until the end of the day when he was struggling to breathe! He was 2 1/2 at the time.

Ofsted pretty much passes most nurseries from what I gather, regardless of whether they are good or bad and it's down to the parents and you as a potential new recruit to find a good one to start in.

To call yourself a Montessori school, you only need 1 trained person on board, this is somewhat different to what parents expect. It often seems to be an excuse to bump nurseries fees up without actually providing the extra - that was from the mouth of one of the Chairwomen of the Montessori Education UK who runs her own (particularly well I must say)!

There are also several outdated ideas being used with children in the Montessori setting - i.e. the use of Brasso for polishing when it is a seriously toxic substance which causes lung disease and damage to the central nervous system if ingested - why can't beeswax be used instead?!

The ethos of Montessori is a wonderful one, done properly I believe it's hard to beat but it's not always done properly and that's where it all falls down.

I've had a really seriously bad experience with the Brighton and Hove Montessori myself but in the past I've experienced a brilliant nursery for my older children (now 20 and 19) so I appreciate it is not an indication of how they all are.

I would agree with training on a wider scale and getting the best of all worlds, pure Montessori can prove challenging in this day and age and it will enable you to get a better job long term if you have a broader spectrum of training.

Good luck with it though, I'm sure with you being so interested in finding the right course for yourself that you'll do brilliantly!

tess1e Sun 09-Mar-08 12:49:04

Just to add an extra - try to target a Montessori accredited school when you go for a job after your training - that way you know you will be going for the best possible school as they are assessed properly and have to meet the standards of the Montessori Board.

Janni Wed 12-Mar-08 13:07:08

Thank you Tess - I appreciate your comments x

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