Montessori Centre International recently came together with the UK’s other Montessori training organisations to organise The Montessori Conference 2019. Over 750 people attended this event celebrating 100 years of Montessori training in the UK. Together we have written an open letter to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education calling for changes to key policy areas where the Montessori approach could benefit children across the UK.

 

Dear Minister,


We applaud the recent decision to award an extra £66 million to the Early Years with specific focus on the funding of 15 and 30 hours of childcare for 3 – 5 year olds. However, the Montessori community remain concerned about development of our youngest children and the direction of travel current policies outline for their learning.


On Saturday 28 September, at The Montessori Conference 2019 in London, the Montessori community celebrated the centenary of the first Montessori teacher training in the United Kingdom. This training was the first international lecture tour Montessori conducted and since that time Montessori education has become an international movement with over 20,000 nurseries and schools worldwide and more than 800 in the United Kingdom, attended by over 40,000 children. The Montessori approach has made a significant contribution to the foundations of early years education in this country and continues to demonstrate its efficacy globally to this day. Its far-reaching benefits are witnessed by the success of graduates of Montessori schools such as the leaders of Google, Facebook and Amazon – who have publically attributed their achievements to their Montessori beginnings.


Montessori nurseries and schools in the UK have consistently demonstrated high quality early years provision not only within the private sector but also when introduced in the Foundation units of state primary schools, and the Montessori community in England has actively engaged with the development of early years policy . The focus of our recent conference has been to share research findings relating to the benefits of Montessori education for children living in marginalised communities and developing children’s executive functioning, motor and language skills to support school readiness.


With these achievements and our pioneering legacy in mind, The Montessori Conference 2019 has produced a call to action which we now share with you, and with policy makers. Our call to action is supported by the current literature review of the EYFS as commissioned by the Early Years Coalition and presented in the Department of Education on Thursday 18 September.


Call to Action
 Extend the Early Years Foundation Stage to cover Key Stage One to ensure that young children have time to develop secure foundations and dispositions for learning.
 Scrap the baseline assessment currently piloted with four year olds within the first four weeks of their attendance in a reception class. It does not provide reliable evidence of their capacity for future learning and it puts very young children under pressure at a time when they do not have the cognitive capacity or emotional resilience for such a test.
 Address the status of the early years Montessori teacher – both in terms of being able to gain funding for their training and being paid in line with qualified teachers.
 Ensure that a sustainability programme becomes a significant element of early childhood education fostering care and responsibility for each other and our planet.


We would like to invite you to visit a Montessori school to experience the Montessori approach in action.


Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Montessori community


Montessori Centre International, Maria Montessori Institute, Bournemouth Montessori Centre and The Montessori Partnership.

About Montessori Centre International (MCI)
Montessori Centre International (MCI) is an international provider of Montessori and Early Years Training and has trained 4,000 students over 20 years. MCI offers a range of nationally recognised qualifications including the Cache Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – birth to seven (Early Years Educator) as well as a new BA (Hons) Degree in Montessori Early Childhood Practice. Our blended learning approach combines face-to-face and online learning using our innovative Virtual Learning Environment. We also provide courses for childminders and parents, and free online open learning courses. MCI is part of Montessori Group that also includes the Montessori St Nicholas charity which carries out social impact work, a membership programme, and since 2008, an accreditation board which guarantees the quality of Montessori settings.

About Maria Montessori Institute (MMI)
The Maria Montessori Institute promotes and delivers authentic Montessori education, as first developed by Maria Montessori. It is the only UK training provider to deliver the Association Montessori International (AMI) Diploma, an internationally recognised qualification. The courses delivered by the Maria Montessori Institute have evolved directly from those first delivered by Dr Montessori and her son Mario between 1919 and 1951.The Maria Montessori Institute offers a Degree in Montessori Pedagogy (AMI 3-6) in collaboration with the University of East London, AMI Diploma courses and AMI Assistants courses renowned for their academic excellence. It also runs five exemplar Montessori schools in London for children aged 2 to 12.

About Bournemouth Montessori Centre (BMC)
Bournemouth Montessori Centre provides authentic Montessori training for local, national and international students in our Centre on the south coast of England. We offer a unique opportunity to study in small face to face groups. BMC runs full and part time Montessori Diploma courses incorporating Early Years Educator. We also house an authentic and accredited Montessori Children’s House from birth to six years. BMC are trustees and council members of Montessori Education UK, a national standards body for Montessori education in this country.

About The Montessori Partnership
The Montessori Partnership’s teacher training is just three removed from that delivered by Maria Montessori and remains true to her thinking and practice even as it evolves to meet the needs of modern children. Courses are face-to-face or a combination of flexible and open learning. We award nationally recognised qualifications, offer CPD and parent workshops, and are enriched by our international student body. With individualised support our students realise their potential to become reflective, observant and practised Montessori professionals. The Montessori Partnership is a council member of Montessori Education (UK).