As we celebrate 100 years of Montessori education in the UK we are also looking ahead to our future and the legacy we are forming as we go. Whilst providing the best standard of Early Years education for children, we also want Montessori to be accessible and open to all. We are undertaking a number of projects to help realise this vision.
Training the next generation of Montessori teachers
Montessori Centre International (MCI) is one of the UK’s leading providers of Montessori and Early Years Training. We have an intake of over 300 students a year, and have a vibrant learning community of students from all over the world who have been inspired by the Montessori approach and wish to learn about what it offers young children. MCI offers a range of courses and training opportunities, including nationally recognised qualifications, professional development for practitioners, courses for childminders and parents, and those who simply wish to find out more about Montessori.
We understand that many students wishing to undertake Montessori teacher training may be hindered by difficult financial circumstances. Each year the Executive Board consider applications for bursaries towards the costs of student courses, although these are limited depending on charity funds. A bursary would make a life-changing difference to an individual who without support, would be unable to pursue their Montessori career, so our wish is to increase the funding available for these grants.
We are also keen to diversify the demographic of our student body, by actively promoting Montessori training to a range of audiences. We particularly encourage men who are interested in Early Years education to consider a career as a Montessori teacher. According to the Fatherhood Institute, only 2% of the UK’s early childhood education workforce are male. Here at Montessori we are keen to challenge stereotypes; those which downplay the importance of early years education and those which perpetuate gender segregated roles. In encouraging children to think and behave freely and independently, we must set an example in our own promotion of Montessori education as a tool for all.
Montessori on the Move
The charity is committed to increasing its provision of outreach programmes within disadvantaged communities, to help support parents who want to encourage positive learning for their children. We are looking for a sponsor to purchase a double decker bus to provide free half day sessions for teenage parents to learn new skills and techniques from Montessori educators. Whilst the parents are taking part in the session upstairs, their children will be provided with free childcare by a Montessori educator on the lower deck.
We already work closely with the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green providing free workshops for parents to discuss ideas around bringing up happy, confident and independent children. These classes have been shown to be incredibly popular, so we wish to bring them directly to parents who may not be able to travel to the museum.
Nursery places for disadvantaged children
It is important to our charity that families wishing to provide a Montessori education for their children are given the opportunity to do so, regardless of financial circumstance. We want to provide free nursery places for children from disadvantaged families.
The benefit of this will be two-fold; the child will receive high quality early years education to prepare them for primary school and beyond, and the parents will receive free childcare to allow them to continue to work and support their family without worrying about nursery fees.
We will be working with individual schools within our Montessori network to identify those in areas of high disadvantage, providing valuable support for local children.
Working with schools
Since most Montessori settings are in the private or voluntary sector, the charity is keen to extend Montessori best practice into state schools and has begun partnerships with schools across the UK. These partnerships include:
- Gorton Mount Primary School, Manchester
- Aldersbrook Primary School, Redbridge
- Stebbing Primary School, Essex
- St Thomas More Primary School, Saffron Walden, Essex
We wish to continue these partnerships whilst forging new ones with schools looking to embrace the Montessori approach and provide a supportive Early Years experience for their pupils.
Get in touch if you would like your school to be partnered with The Montessori St Nicholas Charity.