Region 9 Contact
Chair: Georgina Hood
Deputy: Georgie Scully
Tel: 08456 43 44 41
Montessori Practice – The work cycle and supporting children in all day provision
On Saturday 27 January, the team from Kingston Vale Montessori Nursery attended the MSA London’s workshop focusing on the work cycle and supporting children in all day provision. The workshop was led by none other than Barbara Isaacs herself!
All of the key workers in our team are Montessori trained. We all feel passionately that the Montessori philosophy supports the preparation of the child for the future, developing a love for lifelong learning. But it is easy, in this day and age, to be sucked into a vortex of “Early Learning Goals” and “Areas of Learning”. External moderations push us towards EYFS focused planning and assessment, with the Montessori philosophy being driven to the background. We all felt we could do with a “refresher”, a “touch up”, a bit of guidance. Attending the workshop on the work cycle was a team day out for us and we hoped for an opportunity to reflect, remember what inspired us to become Montessori educators in the first place, and set a vision for moving forward. We were not disappointed!
Barbara took us back to the foundations of Montessori’s work, emphasising the importance of following the child and trusting that the child will be intrinsically drawn to activities which will benefit his/her development. Our memories were jogged as we discussed the stages of development of the Absorbent Mind, sensitive periods and human tendencies, the features of the favourable environment and the role of the teacher.
We were reminded that “work cycle” basically means “the period of time in which the child has the freedom to choose where, how and with whom to learn.” This “nugget”, this simple description of what the work cycle entails, inspired our team to review our practice and we have, since, made some minor amendments to our day with significant effects on the flow of our morning and, more importantly, the wellbeing of our children. Since the workshop, we have moved our peripatetic activities to the end of the morning, ensuring that all children access a 2.5 hour work cycle before choosing whether to participate in music or dance. Children are calmer and now transition much better between the work cycle and their peripatetic activities because they have had the time and the space to engage with the different activities in the in- and outdoor classrooms. The teachers are more relaxed too since we don’t feel so “time-tabled” – we are free to observe and support the children working at their natural pace.
We left feeling reconnected with Montessori’s philosophy and proud to call ourselves Montessorians. Not only have we changed our morning set-up, we have changed our planning to reflect the Montessori areas of the classroom, rather than planning for the EYFS Areas of Learning. We have thrown open the door to outside from the start of the morning and we have introduced more activities embracing the different cultures in our Nursery to support the growth of our little Citizens of the World. In short…. Our Montessori fires were relit!
Details of the next meeting will be posted here shortly.