Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Shanghai Shanghai so good I named it twice

Latest Pisa results show that Asian countries are out performing the UK by a mile. The UK is falling behind global rivals in international tests taken by 15-year-olds, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science. Shanghai in China is the top education system in the OECD's Pisa tests. Could it be a coincidence that China has recruited more Montessori teachers than ever and that Montessori schools are cropping up all over the city? Wales has the lowest number of Montessori schools anywhere in the U.K. In fact there are barely three schools in the country. Montessori Centre Wales was opened a few years ago and received a two page feature in the Western Mail to much acclaim from the education correspondent Gareth Evans. Gareth is not known for his generosity when it comes to education comments. To date the centre has trained a large number of teachers and has attempted to make links with schools colleges and universities. The Welsh Assembly states in its document for the Foundation Phase that Montessori is one of the theories that underpins the Foundation Phase. There is absolutely no evidence of this on the ground. We continually receive requests from students studying at Welsh educational institutions for help and information as Montessori is not on any syllabus in Wales. If the Welsh government is serious about bridging the gap between Wales and the top achieving countries in the Pisa tests then they must tale the bold step of working with Montessori Centre Wales.

Monday, 3 November 2014

New Learning Materials

The lamp oil has been burning late most evenings as we have been ensconced in our shed designing and manufacturing new Montessori materials. After many late evenings fuelled by chamomile tea and the odd chocolate bar, we have come up with some sensational materials for children. We will be uploading photos and videos of the materials in use. We have also created extension materials, which can be downloaded with any orders.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Montessori Materials

Many thanks to www.towerhighlearning.com for the Montessori materials, which arrived today. They were of great quality given the great price. I have received materials from other suppliers at budget prices but nothing of this quality. Theia began using them straight away. I will also be using them in forthcoming lectures and demos online and at university. I received a personal service from start to finish with someone at the end of the phone, available by email and the whole process was tracked from packaging to delivery. First class service, which I will use again. Many thanks, #TowerHighLearning

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Geometric Board

The Geometric Board. This is a lovely piece of equipment. I have been using a home made version for some time and I have made paper templates, which fit to the circle. These are also marked with fractions and degrees. There are many other exercises one can do with other templates, which I will be uploading to Slideshare and demonstrating on Montessori TV. If you would like to purchase a board visit Tower High Learning Visit Montessori Centre Wales to view our presentations

Monday, 6 October 2014

Autumn Is Here

It has been a very busy few weeks for Theia. Her big sister Poppy has gone off to university. Theia is quite nifty at Skyping so Poppy gets to see her. Home school is still very relaxed and follows her natural pace and interests. Theia is still interested in the early Montessori materials an we have rotated the shelves many times to accommodate her. Her brothers as with any other young boys tend to try and escape onto the computer. We have a basic expectation that they actually attempt some maths and english during the morning and use the afternoon for creative work. We have been focusing on geometry for some time and they like that. Theia joins them at the table sometimes and the boys will take it in turns to work and play with her. It is difficult juggling the business, home chores and home schooling but we know what the alternatives are and we do not want to go there. I was shown some homework a child had been given this week at a local school. The child could not read or write but had been asked to follow the two page instructions, which the parents had difficulty in understanding. It just goes to show how out of touch with pedagogy the teachers really are. We live in hope that local schools will embrace our training and make some changes. Our courses are running throughout the year and we are still getting invited to universities to lecture. Theia is thriving and is still a constant source of joy to observe.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Strawberries and Towers

Just watching Theia at work-play. She has spent the last hour building towers out of the knobless cylinders, the pink tower and the geometric solids. The combinations have been endless. In between this she has been going to the table and eating the odd strawberry. There are lovely noises coming from her, which sound like attempts at words. Of course there is the sound of her munching on the strawberries and little mmm's as she finishes them off. She has a paper towel, which she uses to dab her hands and mouth. As I type she has brought me her plate to show me. She has now taken the plate to the kitchen. Now she is using a cloth to wipe the furniture. I saw a photo on Facebook today of someone's child at playgroup. The child is standing in amongst a mass of plastic toys and vehicles. The adult is in a corner in the background drinking out of a cup. I am not making any assumptions, I am just stating what I see. This is observation, state only what you see.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Babies and Language

I have been working with my daughter Theia for the last few days. Theia is just approaching two years of age. We have been using most of the early Montessori materials. Theia tends to voluntarily go to the shelves to choose what she wants to work with. What has struck me is the level of understanding she has for language.Recent research suggest that babies are practicing in their heads over and over the words they want to say when they begin to speak. We have noticed this with Theia. She is desperately trying to speak and we can even hear the stress on syllables but no clear words come out other than mama, dada, etc. Theia has been learning the sounds of letters via flashcards, sandpaper letters and a computer programme. She already identifies the letter sounds, s, m, t, a, o and c. Theia is our fourth child. We worked with all of the children but Theia arrived as a surprise package in our mid life. We have more time and more patience and we have more experience. It is difficult to juggle everything and keep the various websites and blog pages updated. I am also writing a book 'Make Your Own Montessori Classroom' which should be available by Christmas.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sugata Mitra

Looking at Sugata Mitra's work this is a post from www.facebook.com/montessoricentrewales Darin M. Bicknell Hole in the Wall... the Granny Cloud. It is coming. It is here... but you know what you still need collaboration and interaction. It is social learning above all else that will "replace" the teacher. In Montessori that happens everyday. http://sugatam.blogspot.com/.../schools-in-cloud-what... Imagine you integrate this idea with Montessori for the 3rd plane what could happen? Barefoot In the head: Schools in the Cloud – What could they be? sugatam.blogspot.com Alan Evans You are right and I have already seen this with my own children. I am sure a lot of parents or teachers who have a belief in the true nature of the child and rid themselves of the ego will also see this. Alan Evans Mitra's model would be interesting to apply in children's play environments. The closest we have to that is the chaos theory of Tina Bruce. I would suggest that a lot of home schooled children and children outside of education per se like travellers and hippies are inadvertently using Mitra's model. There is so much data and research evidence out there but unfortunately or even fortunately people outside of the norm's of education are reticent to be involved in any scrutiny and for very good reasons. Alan Evans http://prezi.com/m78dlnjsdcbs/modern-perspectives-of-play/ Modern Perspectives of Play FdA Early Years Prezi

Friday, 13 June 2014

Cardiff Montessori Course

I had a wonderful time in Cardiff providing the Montessori teacher's training course for some great students. The days flew by. I was very impressed with their powers of concentration, their ability levels and their willingness to learn. We were lucky enough to have a little girl there with us and she helped us so much. It really inspires me to see people so enthused about Montessori. I am looking forward to the next course. Coming to a village or town near you. Please visit us at www.montessoricentrewales.com

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Developing Countries v Under Developed Countries????

Huw Lewis the education minister for Wales states that there are some fantastic professionals teaching in Wales but they are far too few. He also says that there are far too many people used to a way of working that assumes the world stands still. It really is difficult to see how he can drive up standards when there is an institutionalised fear of change. Surely all the evidence points to the source. Teacher training programmes must include an option for trainees to choose and follow the pedagogy of their choice and have experts on hand to deliver that training in that method. Students pay a lot of money for their training and it must be quite a shock to hear that after all that hard work and financial commitment that they are failing. If it were any other business service they would go and ask for their money back.

So what systems, what pedagogical approaches are the leading nations using. Incidentally, these nations are referred to as developing while Wales is considered developed. 

China is looking towards Montessori as their main pedagogy Montessori In China

Constructivism and social constructivism (n=40 and 20 respectively) were the most frequently referred to theories. In some cases this reference outlined the approach underpinning the intervention itself. Examples included studies which explicitly drew on social constructivism to examine strategies for teaching argumentation in science teaching in South Africa (Braund et al., 2013), research which tied support and guidance for teachers in INSET to a Vygotskian social constructivist approach to adult learning in Namibia (O’Sullivan, 2001b) and donor-supported reforms encouraging active-learning pedagogies based on constructivist notions of teaching and learning in Nicaragua (Sanyal, 2009). However, in many other cases, references to these terms framed the theoretical orientation of the study rather than any actual initiative.

Source: Pedagogy, Curriculum, Teaching Practices and Teacher Education in Developing Countries, December 2013

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Your Suggestions On Our World Map

  • Fantastic. Please keep your suggestions of what you would like in the Montessori approach coming.

  • Each country may have more than one suggestion so if you are from any of the countries on the map, please send yours as well.

  •  Not only what exists in Montessori but what you would add. We are in an age 100 years after Montessori began. We must also build on that work together.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Montessori Centre Wales

Had a great meeting today with the heads of two Montessori establishments in Wales. It coincided with a visit to Redhill Preparatory School to present two members of staff with their teacher's certificates. Congratulations to Laura and Emily picture here receiving their certificates from one of the children.

Visit to Redhill

Join The Community

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

New Book Takes Shape

Another evening of writing the new book. I am reading through Dottoressa Montessori's works and processing the key components while translating them for a modern audience. It is a joy to rediscover this wonderful pedagogy and philosophy. I am looking for a publisher. 

Partner Schools

Some of the schools we are working with in Wales and in London. We would highly recommend these Montessori settings. Many of the staff have also been trained at Montessori Centre Wales.

Toadhall Montessori Nursery & Creche

Holland Park School House

Redhill Preparatory School & Montessori Nursery

Free Materials

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These are our courses running in 2014. If you would like to book a place on any of the courses please contact us on 01269 269459

This popular course leading to a teaching certificate covers each area of the Foundation Phase through the use of the World famous Montessori learning materials and pedagogical theory. Places are limited so booking is essential. Book on www.montessoricentrewales.com

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Llanelli -  15th September to Friday 19th September
Llanelli - Monday 13th October to Friday 17th October 
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I have started work on my new book 'Create Your Own Montessori Classroom. The book will provide valuable information on how you can create your own Montessori classroom anywhere using free and found materials. It is a template for everything you need to create a classroom at home or within a space in your nursery, school, college, hospital or wherever you would like it to be. To follow progress visit www.facebook.com/montessoricentrewales 

Montessori Learning Materials