The graduates received their awards from Lesley Joffick, founder of the London Montessori Centre (now the MCI), at the Institute of Education in London on 12 December.
Penny Johns, director of studies at MCI, said, ‘The MCI Annual Awards Ceremony was such a success; our students celebrated their achievements in style. Having Lesley Joffick as our guest enabled us to look back on our proud history and to look forward to our exciting future that everyone has played a part in creating.’
She added, ‘As founder of the London Montessori Centre [Ms Joffick] understands just how dedicated our students are. Our experienced tutors work hard to ensure every Montessori student achieves their personal best.’
She described 2014 as a ‘landmark year’ with the launch of the new Early Years Educator Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy – Birth to Seven.
Earlier this year the qualification was approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership as meeting the full criteria required to prepare those wishing to become early years educators.
Ms Johns said, ‘We are now the first Montessori training provider to be offering a Montessori Early Years Educator qualification, putting Montessori on the National Qualifications Framework for the first time. We are also the first Montessori training provider to be offering a state of the art Virtual Learning Environment to unite our students online as an international community of learners.
‘Despite all the 21st technology now embedded in our approach, in developing the new Diploma we came back to the recognition that Montessori practice is about establishing and implementing a core set of values. It is these values that affect everything we do and make us the kind of educators we are, providing a sense of identity, purpose and integrity to what we do.’
More than 500 students are trained globally each year by MCI on the diploma, foundation degree and professional development Montessori courses.
The ceremony also recognised the achievements of the schools that have been accredited this year by the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board. All accredited schools carry the MEAB logo and plaque to signpost them as genuine Montessori settings.
There are currently 177 MEAB schools, nine of which won awards at the ceremony.
Just over a quarter of Montessori Schools Association members have gained the accreditation so far.
Michelle Dows-Miller, deputy accreditation officer, said, ‘It is a testament to all MEAB participants that the scheme is now beginning to be recognised as a benchmark, not only for good Montessori practice but for good early years practice as a whole.’