“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
Montessori education is a unique child-centred approached focusing on the child’s development during the early years. The teacher, child and environment form an important triangle of relationship that encourages independence, freedom within limits and critical thinking. This theory is adapted and supported by teachers on a daily basis. Therefore I believe that the most crucial and self-educational part while becoming a Montessori teacher is Professional Placement in the setting.
The first year of my studies at Montessori Centre International consisted of grasping a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of Maria Montessori’s philosophy and approach. This educational method focuses on each child as unique individual that goes through development process and learn in line with own capabilities. I have chosen to be a Montessori teacher because I believe in learning through play. Yet it was only during the Professional Placement that I was able to experience the real world of Montessori teacher – the world outside of the module. There are many responsibilities and levels of hard work behind all the results that does not end when the children leave the environment. The Professional Placement consists of being a part of the classroom and working with the teacher’s daily plans and schedules. It was interesting to experience how collaboration between teachers happens -- the communication is crucial part. All teachers are interacting with each other in order to support each individual child’s wellbeing and safety.
During the Professional Placement I observed Lead Teachers and made concise notes about the activities taking place indoors and outdoors. I have developed the ability to function as a dynamic and flexible teacher, where I use skills with the curriculum materials and philosophy and how to use it in the classroom, and how to meet it towards each child’s ability. In order to develop that understanding, you need to practice! I had a chance to become familiar with material and how to approach the children, an opportunity that not many have exposure to. The time I spent in the classroom supported my own understanding and knowledge about the stages in child’s development as I could see the milestones take place before my eyes, and not just written on the pages in a variety of books. I have realized that is critical to recognize the stages of development in order for the child to gain as much as possible from the activity and therefore adapt it according to child’s interest.
The children move freely in the classroom and choose activities that interest them – an aspect that most teachers are afraid of as it requires letting go of an element of control. By observing this and responding to it, I have begin to develop a skill of identifying a child’s interest and guide them to use it towards educational development. Children are unique individuals and every approach may vary. Moreover, as trained teachers I developed an awareness of how to foster and maintain social harmony in the classroom. Children interact with each other happily with any prejudice.
It was, and is still, a beautiful experience to learn from professionals and see myself growing into a teacher. It is such a wonderful pleasure to work with children each day and be a part of their world, where I can listen them, help them and invite them to understand the world around them.
Lucia is part of the Little Gems Montessori Larnaca team where she works alongside Eva, Emma & Natasha. Lucia graduated in 2016 from the EYE Diploma at MCI London www.montessori.org.uk