The pilot was launched in October 2013 with 52 childminders participating. A further 23 childminders have joined the course in the last three months.
The course has met with a positive response in the evaluations carried out six months after its launch.
Eighty-two per cent of participants rated the professional development course as either excellent or good.
MCI will use the results of the evaluation to inform the development of the course, which will continue to run for new participants.
The online course is available to all registered childminders and offers an introduction to the Montessori approach.
The course comprises six units of study, and takes around three to four months to complete. Content includes the history of Maria Montessori’s life, the Montessori perspective of the child, how to organise the environment in the home, child development in the context of Montessori education, and Montessori and the EYFS.
Students work through the course materials online, keep a professional development log, and are allocated a Montessori-qualified childminder as a mentor.
Annamaria Guild, a course mentor, said she was not surprised by the results of the evaluation. ‘It's a very well thought-through course. The modules are well balanced, it's readable, relevant and it's easily doable in the given time, even if you have a busy work schedule. As childminders, we all have different settings, issues and children, but the participants were all eager to find out more and more about the Montessori method and how to implement it in their settings.
‘They are all registered childminders and have been working with children and know about children's development for a while, but this course taught them much about themselves, how to be reflective, mindful and how to be able to step back and “follow the child”, which is our motto. I feel privileged to be part of a team of experienced mentors and Montessori professionals, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with the childminders and my colleagues.’
While completion of the course does not provide participants with a full qualification, MCI hopes that some of the students will continue with their study and go on to complete the Montessori diploma or a professional development seminar.
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