Montessori in Mainstream Schools – Interview with a teacher

As much as I love Montessori, a Montessori school or Homeschooling might not be on the cards for your family.

My own daughter is in public and mainstream education. She went to a Montessori preschool then she continued onto mainstream school. We had the option to send her to a Montessori school from Year 4 but she chose at the time to remain in her school, with her friends.

I'm planning to discuss more about how to keep your Montessori principles while your child attends a conventional school. 

But today, I have the pleasure to introduce you to Viktoria, a Montessori teacher from London. She teaches in Nursery and Reception in a Public school. She has the immense privilege to be able to use the Montessori method within the school system. 

There are few other similar schools in the UK and I hope to be able to share more info as I'm planning to interview the head teachers of those schools.

Read below Viktoria's experience 

Visit her Instagram account : Montessori is Art.

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Q:Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your family?

My name is Viktoria. Formerly I come from Ukraine but living in London for 12 years now. Back in my country, I studied psychology and foreign literature for 5 years. I am also a qualified teacher of English. When I arrived to the UK, I worked a lot with little children and decided to get my qualification in Montessori education. Working as a Montessori teacher brings me lots of joy and is quite rewarding. I enjoy seeing children improving their skills using Montessori ways. I love learning languages, traveling, and creating activities. I also have a son who is only 1 month old.

Q: Could you tell us about your path to Montessori?

I remember it was 2011 and I was working in all daycare nursery. One of my colleagues was studying online to get her Montessori qualification, which she was talking about during our lunch together. I've never heard of Montessori before so I was intrigued. After I googled for possible courses and found the Orchard House School providing 1-year Montessori course through MCI and full time working in a school as an experience. It was intensive and well worth it!

Q: You work in a mainstream school. Can you tell us how you incorporate Montessori in the classroom?

To make the curriculum a bit more interesting, the school uses Montessori equipment. It's a great balance! We created Montessori area (used mostly in Nursery and Reception classes) and also ordered a few activities for Year 1 and 2 to use as additional help to understand abstract concepts using the hands-on experiences. I am based in the Nursery class, so In the morning we do Montessori activities (for 30 mins), and then complete teacher planned activities. Then we back to Montessori in the afternoon (for 2 hours with a 15 mins break in between).

Q. Are there some aspects of Montessori that you cannot implement while being in a public school?

Yes, we don't have enough time to complete the full work cycle, and we use Montessori mostly as reinforcement of what was learned before.

Q: What would you say to a parent who wants to learn more about Montessori but doesn’t know where to start?

Read the book "The Absorbent Mind", pay for a Montessori workshop, do lots of research online, watch videos etc. 

Q: Do you have a favourite Montessori quote and why?

"Help me to help myself." When I first heard it, it took me back to my childhood. I was rethinking how much I've missed when learning to reach my full potential and how that affected me psychologically. Learning was always something really stressful for me, and now I know where the teachers were wrong with their ways of teaching. Montessori method is priceless in that sense.

Q: Do you have a favourite Montessori material in the classroom?

I love all of them! Pouring and transferring I can do for hours, but my favourite area would be Knowledge and Understanding of the world.

Q: What are your future Montessori projects for the school?

Apart from continuing working in Nursery and Reception, I would love to bring up more Montessori materials for Year 1 and 2 and suggest  1:1 support teachers to use Montessori equipment during their sessions. 

Q: What are your hopes for the future of Montessori education?

I hope it continues to grow and widespread. Also, I hope Montessori education would be more available for children from lower backgrounds and used more in older age groups.

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.