The Montessori School Principles
There are a number of principles fundamental to the Montessori environment:
Outdoors: Children have free access to the outside to encourage working with real-world materials.
Social Skills: Set rules in the classroom encourage patience and manners with a sense of care and community among the children, even the youngest pupils.
Preparation: Attention is paid to layout of the classroom. Shelves are labelled with names and pictures for specific items so children can help themselves rather than relying on adults to help them.
Imagination: Activities tend to be based on real-world activities. With children engaging in real washing, cleaning and cooking rather than pretend.
Interview with Michelle Wisbey
We caught up with Michelle Wisbey, Founder and Principal of four Montessori’s in North West Essex, lecturer on Montessori education at Anglia Ruskin University, busy mum of three and all-round Superwoman.
What inspired you to work with young children? At a crossroads in life, I looked into a teaching degree. I then came across a Montessori primary school and everything just clicked.
So why Montessori? Montessori children are respected and encouraged to be themselves. It also offers an excellent environment for children on the Autism spectrum.
What’s the difference between a Montessori pre-school and a traditional pre-school? In a Montessori it is totally child-led. Children dictate their day and are not engaged in activities unless they want to be.
How did you go about opening your first school? We first opened Maynard pre-school at Little Easton Barn Theatre before moving into Stebbing Montessori School. I then worked with St Thomas More School in Saffron Walden and was then approached by the head of Flitch Green academy to create a similar setting before moving to a purpose built, eco building in the school grounds. Westwood, our largest Montessori, was created opposite my home, close to Thaxted and offers a wonderful learning environment.
Tell us about Westwood. We accommodate children from six months up to five years and have separate rooms appropriate to the two age groups. We are also a Montessori training centre offering Diploma level 3 and 4… It’s the philosophy that’s important. You could give me any nursery setting with any tools and I’d be able to engage the children in a Montessori method.
Exquisite Montessori SchoolsSearching for a potential Montessori school in Essex for your child? Here are some Exquisite options:
Westwood Montessori, Saffron Walden, CB10 2SA
Tel: 1371 831902
Butterflies Montessori, Brentwood, CM14 5LF
Tel: 01277 200642
Oakfields Montessori, Upminster, RM14 2YG
Tel: 01908 396250
Soaring High Montessori Primary School, Coggeshall, CO6 1TH
Tel: 01376 564392