We have been receiving a lot of requests for information about level 3 and 4 training to become an Early Years Educator in Montessori Pedagogy recently. We spoke to Michelle Wisbey who offers this training through her consultancy, Westwood Training and Consultancy.
Montessori Musings (MM): Michelle, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Your consultancy, Westwood Training and Consultancy, offers the CACHE Early Years Educator in Montessori Pedagogy at Level 3 and Level 4. Can you tell us more about the course that you offer?
Michelle Wisbey (MW): We have been offering Montessori training since 2014 and have used the seven years of experience to develop our own unique Montessori training we now deliver in our CACHE Early Years Educator in Montessori Pedagogy at Level 3 and Level 4. We have created a fully inclusive way to make sure anyone in any situation can access the training. The course, accredited by CACHE, is recognised as a full and relevant qualification, which is a vitally important consideration when studying towards the Montessori qualification. This ensures you can be legally counted in ratio.
The course specifications include Child development, Supporting Children’s Health and Wellbeing, Montessori Philosophy, the Montessori curriculum area, Montessori as a creative curriculum and Montessori in practice. Our tutors bring a wealth of teaching experience: from Montessori degree and diploma courses, to Montessori nursery and ownership, and understand the needs of both students and nursery settings. Myself, Sarah Olley, Michela Castellarin, Joanne Gaught, Sarah Rowledge and Jo Cousins all work closely together to ensure a depth of knowledge and theory is taught to support Montessori practice. We are all kept in line by Liz Barclay who oversees the administration.
We run two study groups a year. We keep our study groups small and personal. We have a group starting on March 21st (there is still time to join us, we have 3 places left) and we have another group starting in September.
MM: How will students engage with the course?
MW: We have created a unique and carefully considered way of delivering the training, combining the needs of the students with the needs of the settings in which placements take place. We deliver the course using a blended approach in which students participate in live evening lectures via a private internet platform and they are offered ongoing one to one tutorial support for their theoretical study.
Students participate in face to face workshops organised in locations suitable for the needs of their study group. There are generally 7 one-day workshops on a Saturday. We are currently delivering workshops in London and in Essex. If nursery groups have more than 5 students in a study group we will deliver workshops in their own settings.
The course includes a placement which is delivered through a supportive network and partnership between mentor and tutor.
All assessments are ongoing and skill based, ensuring that the individual assessments contribute to the students learning experience, and furnish the student with tools that they will use in their job roles. There are no examinations!
MM: How are students supported along the way?
MW: We pride ourselves in offering a very personal supportive experience, that supports students’ well-being. We want each and every one of our students to reach a successful end to their course. Each tutor will ensure both academic and pastoral support during their study. The placement is regarded with the same importance as the theoretical element of the course. Being a nursery owner I understand the challenges and benefits of practical learning. With this in mind we have placed more emphasis on the placement element of the course, ensuring learning happens not just in the training classroom but also in reality. We have embedded many of the assessment elements into the placement in a way that integrates effectively into the normal working life of the setting. We believe this is the best way for us to ensure students know how to put their learning into practice. We make sure students do this in a fully supported way by allocating each student a placement tutor who will visit them approximately every 6 weeks, to observe them, support their practice in person and with the children and carry out light touch assessment while students are working with children. We make sure the learning and the assessment are kept relevant and keeping real.
MM: What sets this course apart?
MW: The knowledge and the experience of the tutors is a very special element of what we offer: understanding of Montessori pedagogy, the needs of the nursery owner, the needs of the nursery manager and the needs of the students are all integral elements of the course. We apply the Montessori philosophy in our work with students and apply active, respectful approach to both teaching and learning, our approach is fully inclusive. We take each and every student’s learning journey personally; their learning journey is also ours, we aspire to create an equitable learning partnership.
For more information about the course, please go to the Westwood Training and Consultancy website and click on courses.