Our students come from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and age groups – from students taking a gap year before entering university, to people in their twenties and thirties wishing to embark upon a career change to nursery education; from parents with young or older children to grandparents interested in finding out about how the Montessori method can help their grandchildren. Some already possess advanced qualifications such as first or higher degrees or are qualified nursery nurses; others have little in the way of format qualifications but have much to contribute from personal experience either with their own children or from experience in the classroom. The Centre has an equal opportunities policy in operation. It welcomes and has trained male as well as female students for nursery education, and is able to make special arrangements for those with dyslexia, physical handicaps or other forms of special educational needs.
The Kent & Sussex Montessori Centre has been operating as an independent organisation since 1990. The principal, Marianne Clarkson, has been involved in Montessori training since 1985 and has had extensive experience in state schools, special schools and in teacher training. Courses are all taught by Montessori trained graduates with personal teaching experience. The Centre has an outstanding record of passes and distinctions in the examinations.
Many ex-students are now either teaching in local Montessori Nurseries or have set up successful Nursery Schools of their own. Few fail to find employment at the end of the course (although, of course, we cannot guarantee employment or career advancement). Recent past students are now teaching in various parts of Europe, or as far afield as Hong-Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia and S.Africa. Other ex-students have found positions as teachers in the kindergarten/nursery departments of several Independent Preparatory Schools. Yet others are working with children with special educational needs. However, although the qualification is acceptable for teaching in many private schools it does not confer ‘qualified teacher status’ in U.K. state schools.
The Centre also supports the Montessori Schools Association, the largest local network of Montessori teachers, which provides regular meetings on topics of current interest and offers support and professional development for those who have finished the course.
The overall educational objectives of the Kent & Sussex Montessori Centre’s programme are:
- To promote Montessori philosophy and education, particularly in SE England
- To provide training of a high academic standard for intending Montessori educators, particularly mature students
- To encourage on-going professional development for teachers, particularly those in Montessori schools/nurseries
- To interpret the Montessori Method in the light of recent research, without losing sight of the essence of the method