Region 4  Contact

Chair: Joahnne Cousins
Deputy: Sarah  Drummond
Counties: Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire

Back to Basics ­ Montessori and Independent Learning in Practice
Saturday 19 November 2017

I consider myself very fortunate to have attended this training day. We arrived at Montessorian of the year, Michelle Wisbey’s setting in Saffron Walden to a warm welcome and a very welcome Danish pastry.

As we are lead by the child during our working days, Michelle wanted our training day to be lead by us. She asked us to pose questions to her, to ‘ensure everyone goes away with something from the day’.

Whilst Michelle compiled the questions together, a task was set. Moving out of our comfort zones and joining into groups unknown to us, our task was simple – collect one thing from outside, create a story and tell it to the rest of the attendees.  At the end of each story, there was an open discussion on how the story touched each area of the curriculum, what other activities could be brought forward and how the child could take it further. I was so engrossed in listening to all the beautiful, imaginative stories, and taking part in the discussion, I forgot to write any notes!

Discussions then began regarding the questions posed, ranging from how the classroom differs for the under and over 3s, engaging boys in the Montessori classroom and how the Montessori materials are delivered both inside and out.

The afternoon session posed another challenge. Take two pieces of sensorial material and make something different. There were such an array of unique constructions, from a tower made from the touch tablets and colour box 2 to a Christmas tree from the red rods and knobless cylinders. This activity showed us that a child may look as though they’re just mixing the activities but actually they are exploring in a more lateral way and we should observe the nature of what is actually happening and then be able to support the child going forward.

Altogether a truly knowledge cramming day, full of vibrance, fluidity and reflection.  Being able to talk to other montessorians, even though initially uncomfortable, gives a great opportunity to share knowledge, reflect on one¹s own practices and support those new to the field and just starting their training.

For those who were unfortunately unable to attend, Michelle is part of the Sparkle Malawi project whereby MCI are travelling to Malawi to help create settings and train staff to deliver the Montessori method of teaching in this third world area. This is a plea for dormant or incomplete equipment, any that you have in your settings, to be kindly donated to this extremely worthwhile cause.

You can contact Michelle direct through her setting at Westwood Montessori or through the Region 9 Chair.

Thank you Michelle for such an insightful and enjoyable training day.

Lynne Bage
Jelly Beans Montessori Preschool, Hockley

Eastern England Meetings

14 October 2017 – Outdoor Learning with Michelle Wisbey

21 April 2018 – Positive Language with Sarah Rowledge

More details will be posted here shortly