Montessori is a unique approach to education used and respected in countries all over the world. It is a global phenomenon. There are over 600 UK Montessori schools and 22,000 worldwide. In the UK, Montessori teaching predominantly caters for pre-school children, with some primary schools also established. Montessori schools in Europe and the rest of world can extend to 18.
This page explains more about the Montessori philosophy if you are considering Montessori training to become a teacher.
What is Montessori education?
Montessori education offers children the foundations for life long learning across a broad spectrum of topics and skills. A study showed that Montessori children have a high level of cognitive attainment at age 5 - above the national average. They also demonstrate excellent levels of positive social and behavioural development in all areas and are more confident in their abilities and have a strong sense of self-esteem.
The movement was inspired by Dr Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. She was a true pioneer of child -centred learning and the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in Italy. She went on to establish schools for the disadvantaged children of working parents in Rome and approached their education as a scientist, using the classroom as her observation laboratory, finding ways to help children achieve their full potential.
How is it different from standard education?
Fundamental to the Montessori approach is the belief that a child’s early years – from birth to six – are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn. It is what we, as adults, do during these critical years that lay the foundations for all their future learning and confidence. The approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child.
Montessori teaching meets all the requirements of the Early Years Foundation stage, and Montessori training focuses on six core areas of learning: practical life, sensorial, language, maths, cultural and creative activities. The Montessori classroom provides specially designed resources to help foster independence and a love for learning from an early age. At the heart of the method are the Montessori materials, beautiful pieces of equipment which have been carefully designed to incorporate a learning objective.
Embarking on a career in Montessori education
Montessori offers exciting and richly rewarding career opportunities for anyone with a passion for teaching and children. To qualify as a Montessori teacher, you need to have a diploma in Early Childhood (ages 2 1/2-6 years). The diploma can be studied by full, part-time or distance learning at Montessori Centre International. Europe’s largest Montessori teacher training college.Read Penny John’s (mother of 2) personal account of the course:
I think early years teaching is really worth considering for a career-break returning Mum. We have gained the equivalent of a degree in childcare through raising our own children! For me the work/life balance is crucial and I am hoping to be able to work locally and term time only.
Before training to become a Montessori teacher, I had a career in the
theatre as a costume maker and supervisor, then worked in the costume department of a busy drama school and more recently taught sewing to children. I have always had a strong vocation to teach but had never considered training in Early Years. I read about the Montessori method and was inspired by the spirit and philosophy behind it.
My first experience of Montessori was when I went to look around a Montessori nursery for my son. I had visited a few nurseries, but when I walked through the door of the Montessori nursery I knew this was something different. There was a wonderful sense of calm with the children. I knew this was really special and the right place for my children.
I have always had a strong vocation to teach but had never previously considered training in the Early Years. I read about the Montessori Method and was inspired by the
spirit and philosophy behind it."
I am studying part-time at Montessori Centre International in central London (opposite Selfridges!) MCI is the largest Montessori training centre in Europe, with part-time regional centres based across the country. It offers full, part-time and distance learning courses. Full and part-time courses begin in February and September. Distance learning is flexible and you can start at any time.
The Early Childhood course curriculum includes: Montessori philosophy, child development, practical life and sensorial areas - unique to Montessori, as well as more familiar early years subjects: literacy, maths, art & craft, drama and music & movement. Having young children of my own means there is always someone around to test out materials and practise on!
At the end of the year you get a certificate in Montessori Theory and Methodology which allows you to start working in a Montessori nursery as a teaching assistant. To get the full International Montessori Diploma you need to do a certain amount of hours teaching practice in a Montessori nursery which gives you Montessori teacher status.
Once you qualify, there are a range of rewarding career opportunities available. You can manage and own your own nursery, work abroad, become a much sought after Montessori trained nanny or teach in a Montessori prep school. The choice is endless.
Find out more
For a prospectus or further information on Montessori teacher training at Montessori Centre International telephone 020 7493 0165 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also gain more insight into the methods used in Montessori education by reading Learning Together: What Montessori can offer your family, ISBN: 9780957170407, price: £6.99.
My own family has benefited massively from Montessori. I consider it to be the m
ost encouraging & nurturing form of education there is.
Tana Ramsay is the author of three best-selling family cook books & busy Mum to four young children. She is also a qualified Montessori teacher. Montessori is a cause close to Tana’s heart.
You can order a FREE DVD “Discovering Montessori with Tana Ramsay” and find out more about the Montessori approach.