The charity is now working with four primary schools in England providing grants for specialist equipment, as well as Montessori teacher training, and plans to work with a fifth school are progressing.
St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Saffron Walden, Essex, has received a £10,000 grant from Montessori St Nicholas to introduce Montessori materials in the Reception class.
The school already has a Montessori pre-school and the approach will continue in Years 1 and 2, as the Reception children move up the school. The Montessori nursery manager is training Key stage 1 staff.
Aldersbrook Primary School in Wanstead has received £2,000 to provide Montessori training from September.
Philip Bujak, chief executive of Montessori St Nicholas, said the initiatives were part of the charity’s aim to reach a wider community and embed the Montessori approach, as part of its manifesto launched last year.
Mary Jo Hall, head at St Thomas More, said that extending Montessori from pre-school into Reception was a natural one for the school and that teachers recognised how well it supports traditional learning.
‘Our nursery leaders were frustrated that the children left them with no opportunity to continue to use the Montessori equipment when it was still so relevant to facilitating their development. One piece of equipment can be used, on so many levels, across different age groups, ' she said.
‘The Montessori resources are absolutely central to the approach and were a key influence for me when deciding to introduce them into our reception class.’
‘The new materials support children’s literacy and numeracy and can be used by children independently.
She added, ‘I find that much of the practical primary equipment available for reception and key stage 1 children is limited, particularly in numeracy and often requires a teacher to work alongside the child.
‘When children start in reception, they are expected to be able to hold a pencil and write, when many don’t have the fine motor skills to do so yet. Our new Montessori resources are so tactile and really help children repeat and reinforce their practical skills subtly, without getting bored.’
Ms Hall added that the approach also builds our children’s social and emotional behaviour, with the new equipment giving children a greater sense of social responsibility. ‘They know they need to wait their turn to use it and put it back carefully.’
Aldersbrook Primary School in Wanstead, East London, has received a grant of £2,000 to provide Montessori teacher training.
Angela Euesden, (pictured right), assistant head of Early Years Foundation Stage, who instigated the Montessori approach at Aldersbrook is also a qualified Montessori teacher.
As well as changing the physical space by renovating the large outdoor area, making the interior of the nursery light, airy and open plan, the nursery and Reception classes all now have open shelving. One of the Reception teachers enrolled on the Montessori Distance Learning Course.
Montessori Centre International is now training 11 teachers, including the head, Mrs Misbah Mann, deputy and a Year 1 Teacher.
Ms Muesden added, ‘The training is critical to ensure a wide range of staff understand and support what we are trying to achieve for the children.
‘A dedicated Montessori Teacher in Year 1 will ensure a consistency of approach as our Reception children move up in 2014.
‘I am hopeful that the project will ultimately raise standards across the whole school as children are encouraged to be excited, motivated and independent.’
MSA also works with Gorton Mount Primary School, Manchester, and Stebbing Primary School, Essex.