The decision for a school to be accredited is usually made by the owners and managers; however, preparation for the accreditation will require team work. You will have to reflect on the values and practices that underpin everything which happens in the setting. The main purpose of the accreditation process should be an on-going commitment to the improvement of your practice.
It is best to start by revisiting Montessori philosophy by looking at some of the criteria for accreditation, for example:
- How do we prepare the learning environment (both indoors and outside) to enable children to learn following Montessori’s description of children’s natural path of development?
- What do we understand by the natural path of development – how does this link with the EYFS principle of the Unique Child?
- Do we respect and trust children’s need to learn and develop? And how do we demonstrate this in practice?
- What do we understand by the child’s work and how does it link with the EYFS focus on learning through play?
- What do we understand by the work cycle and why is it important? Is it two and half to three hours long and if not, how can we extend it?
- How do we enable children to complete their individual cycles of activity?
- What do we understand by free-flow learning opportunities?
- Do we take every opportunity to help children to extend their learning?
- How can we facilitate peripatetic teaching such as ballet or French without interrupting the children’s natural rhythm and concentration?
- Are we observing regularly and how do our observations inform planning, assessment and record keeping, and further development of staff?
- How do we foster positive relationships – with children, with parents, amongst ourselves, and with the wider community?
- How will we build on the accreditation recommendations – are we prepared to do further training, reorganise the classroom, rethink our daily routines, support outdoor learning?
- Identify which part of the provision you wish to have accredited – the whole setting or part of it (e.g. the babies and toddlers as well as the nursery and the primary school, or just one of them).
As you can see, there are many angles which can be used as a focus for your staff reflections and which will help you to prepare for the accreditation. The main purpose of the accreditation process should be an on-going improvement of your practice.
The ‘Step by Step Accreditation’ page of this section offers a clear guide to the MEAB process.
If you would like to register your interest in MEAB please contact firstname.lastname@example.org