It’s just over 7 years since my Montessori journey began, when I signed up my first child – then a baby – for a pre-school place at the Montessori school near to me. I can remember taking her along to an open day and being so impressed by the busy hum of the classroom and the natural elements of the classroom – and by the children who were all engaged in working either alone or in small groups. All of them looked calm and interested. There was definitely a ‘switched on’ look in their eyes that I hadn’t seen before on my visits to other settings, as they followed their own interests for as long as they wished.
Montessori Centre International – Announces New Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – Birth to Seven (Early Years Educator) Qualifications due to launch September 2014
In response to the Government’s wider agenda for qualification reform in the Early Years outlined in More Great Childcare, Montessori Centre International is on track to be able to put Montessori training on the National Qualifications Framework for the first time.
Continuing her series on human tendencies, Barbara Isaacs explores exactness, orientation and order…
Montessori believed that children were born with ‘a mathematical mind’, which she defined as a natural tendency for exactness, orientation and order, usually manifested in older children as capacity for logical, systematic thinking. In her writing in The Absorbent Mind she compares this genetic gift to the warp on a loom, into which experiences and learning are woven as the child develops and has opportunities to use shapes, pair and match, sort and use principles of one-to-one correspondence, order, sequence and make patterns.
Early years and primary work continues to attract attention from policy makers – not always for the right reasons. The most recent examples have been a letter from the Chief Inspector of Ofsted (HMCI) to Early Years inspectors and his first Annual Report on the early years. The report has a preface by Nick Hudson, National Director of Early Education at Ofsted and, significantly, it regards itself as being one of a series about raising standards, with not enough being done to support and encourage parents or to address differences between children from different economic backgrounds.
In this issue we’re focusing on different aspects of food and meals in the nursery. Elizabeth Sather of Living Spring Montessori in London describes their typical lunchtime, highlighting children’s independence as part of the routine. Helen Barber takes a look at current views on how to help children understand the importance of healthy food, while Pip Titheradge gives some observations on grace and courtesy at mealtimes. In a wide-ranging article, Daniel Isaacs addresses some of the misconceptions about eating disorders by reference to some current research on the topic. He concludes by focusing on eating disorders among young children. Finally, the ‘International’ section is devoted to the inspiring Earth to Table program that is being run by The Children’s House, an independent Montessori school in Michigan.
The little girl looked around the classroom at the heads of the other children, bent over their pieces of work. She watched as her classmates wrote, or selected crayons or coloured pencils to colour in their drawings. The little girl gripped her own pencil tighter and returned her gaze to her own work. The others seemed to find it so easy, much easier than she did. She tried as hard as she could to press her pencil to the paper, to form each letter correctly, taking great care as she did so to make each one small. Her teacher had told her previously that her writing was too big. She wanted to please the teacher and to see their face light up when they saw how much effort she had made this time to do what she was told. She wanted so much to get it right, just like the others did.