Region 5  Contact

Chair: Randa William
Deputy: Fiona Brissenden
Tel: 01622892454
Email:msasoutheasta@montessori.org.uk
Counties: Sussex, Kent

Recently I have found myself increasingly recalling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Children attending our settings today arrive or encounter many challenges from trauma, grief and transitions. As well as those with additional and special needs. Maslow’s hierarchy explains that children’s various needs must be met before self actualization (learning) can take place. These range from the basic needs of food and shelter to a sense of belonging.

I started looking into play therapies to increase the tools and techniques at our disposal to help support the whole child as they embark on their Montessori journey. Lego therapy is a social development programme for children including those with ASD that provides:

-collaborative play
-joint attention
-shared goals
-social communication

It emphasizes what they “can do” rather than what they “can’t do”.

I don’t know what we were expecting at the start of the training but it is fair to say none of us expected a therapy that so wholly supports the physical, intellectual, linguistic and social needs of the child. As practitioners and parents training together we were challenged out of our comfort zones.

The basic concept is you have three people to a group with a facilitator (teacher) supporting. Each participant is given a role. The Engineer reads the instructions without showing it to the others. The Supplier is the person who identifies the Lego bricks based of the Engineer’s description.  After identifying the brick, the supplier hands it to the Builder. The builder is the person who does the building based on the directions of the Engineer. Before any work is done the group have to collectively discuss, agree and decide on the names of each brick as the size, shapes and colours vary. This is harder than you think!

We all got a go at the different roles and we definitely learned how challenging it could be. As trained practitioners we summoned all our skills in verbal and non verbal communication, social skills and initiative; despite that it was still stretching.

When we completed that task the trainers increased the challenge by introducing us to “Freestyle Lego” where we have the same roles but with random pieces and no written instructions for the Engineers to base their descriptions and instructions. Definitely something to work up to!

Lego, a system of blocks are predictable within a system of rules, so Lego is particularly attractive to ASD children as they are motivated by and attracted to systems. However children (and adults!) of all ages would gain a number of skills from Lego therapy these include joint attention, collaboration, problem solving, turn taking, enjoyment, social skills, creativity, fine motor skills and leadership.

As we all reflected on the day’s training we were inspired as to the endless possibilities of Lego therapy and looking forward to doing something new and fun with our children. The best part about Lego therapy is the children are learning without knowing they are learning…rather like our Montessori method.

Southeast Meetings

September 23rd at 10am to 12pm followed by a light lunch we have Doctor Ezinne Madu a community paediatrician working in East Sussex Trust talking to us about neuro developmental disorders.

She has over 10 years experience and 5 assessing and diagnosing children, her specialist area is ADHA AND ASD. She has worked across 5 trusts bringing with her a wealth of experience about how these trusts comply with National guidelines and what paediatricians need to form a diagnosis. She will talk about some of the main special needs paediatricians see and what they look for to diagnose and how settings can assist by providing the right information.

She will also broadly explain how other professions support such as OT, Speech and Language and play therapies fit in.

MSA members £20
Non MSA members £30

Please email Randa William at childrenshousebirling@gmail.com to book a place.