Montessori is my magic formula

20th November 2009 at 00:00

I found my feet when, after 15 years of mainstream primary teaching, I discovered the Montessori approach ("Finding their feet," TES Magazine, November 13).

Not being bound to a timetable is the greatest change for me. The children determine the pace of the day: they eat their snacks when they are hungry; they can repeat an exercise as many times as they need to.

Careful observation determines when lessons are presented. Sometimes children ask for specific lessons - until I retrained I had never had a child ask me to tell them about pronouns.

I now work in a mixed-age class. The range of needs and abilities is wide in most single-age classes so I do not find this more challenging. Children will ask each other for help and learning can be consolidated when showing another child how to do something.

I do miss being part of that large dedicated group of teachers working within the state system. I wish all children had the opportunity to have a Montessori education, regardless of their parents' income.

Stephanie Garrett, Primary teacher, Brighton Hove Montessori School, Brighton.

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