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Montessori Education in nurseries in England: Two case studies.

Abu, Torka Joyce (2012) Montessori Education in nurseries in England: Two case studies. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

The study explored Montessori education in nursery schools in England. A case study strategy was employed to gain in – depth knowledge of the Montessori Method of Education practiced in two nursery schools with a small purposive sample of teachers, parents, nursery owner, Montessori governing board member and children. A qualitative approach was utilised and involved semi structured interviews with teachers, parents, nursery owner and Montessori governing board member as well as the observation of children and document interrogation. The collection of these qualitative data focused on how the teachers conceptualised best practice in Montessori education, how children learn, the role of the teacher, the nature of teacher – children interactions that occur and how the prepared learning environment in the nursery aligns with Montessori philosophy. The major findings were that the teachers’ conceptualisation of best practice revealed a measured understanding and this appeared based on the teachers not having attained certified Montessori trained teacher status. Further to this, the children’s learning was underpinned by Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and Montessori principles mainly achieved through teacher –led/ initiated activities and group activities. Fewer opportunities were afforded for either child initiated activities, individual paced learning and independent access to materials. The role of the directress in the settings, which mainly focused on fulfilling routine nursery duties, did not appear to differ significantly from the teacher’s role in other early years settings. Their roles did not mirror the Montessori teacher role description which lays premium on observing children, preparation of the learning environment and acting as a crucial link between the children and the prepared environment. Again, the nature of directress (teacher) – child interactions that occurred in the settings evidenced respect for the child to some extent and was underpinned by a combination of autonomy support and control. The prepared environment in both nursery exhibited some level of conformity to the Montessori ethos but more evidently, in Nursery A than Nursery B. The findings suggested that important consideration be given to staff training to enable attainment of formal Montessori certification and the Early Years Professional Status to ensure proper interpretation and implementation of the EYFS guidelines in Montessori contexts. Similarly, resolving identified areas of seeming mismatch between Montessori principles and the EYFS provision should be prioritised at Montessori governing level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Business, Law, Education and Social Sciences > School of Education
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2015 10:36
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 11:09
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5156
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