Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mixed Emotions with Montessori

H has started at a new pre school this term (his last one closed down!) and I'm already starting to have doubts about it.
I was really excited about him starting because I loved the whole ethos that the place has. Think hippy, free play, yoga and nature. It sounded ideal, they even learn Mandarin. 

It is a Montessori nursery...

' Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.'
RAINBOW - traditional waldorf toy
Image by Rjabinnik

My main concern started this morning when I dropped H off. All of the doors were open (as usual) so we just walked straight in, hung up his bag and put on his indoor shoes. He went straight off to play, no problems there. It wasn't until I looked around me ane realised that there wasn't another adult in sight. Just masses of little people running around, doing their free play bit. I didn't really know what to do, did I just walk off and leave him there? Should I stay and make sure all of these children were safe? What if H decided to go for a walk, they wouldn't even know I had dropped him off. (There is a signing in sheet somewhere, if you can find it!)
Padlock
Image by Ian Britton

In the end I decided that maybe I was just be over paranoid as all of the other mummies appeared to be just dropping off and going. So I did the same. 
Can't say that I haven't been worrying about it all day though so I thought I'd just have a look at their ofsted report. Oh my I wish I hadn't! In brief... no CRB checks for any staff, no children observation and achievment folders, no key workers, The effectiveness of safeguarding scored inadequate and overall the quality of the provision is satisfactory.

paperwork 2
Image by Isaac Bowen
Now lets be honest here a three year old doesn't care whether he has a key worker or his own folder with chapter and verse on how he is developing. He just knows that when he goes there he has fun with his friends in a nice relaxed atmosphere. What more could you ask for for your child? 
Wooden Toy Train I
Image by Mark Tomlinson
I like to think of myself as a fairly laid back kind of person, (the OH calls me his little hippy chick) but I fail to be laid back when it comes to my childrens safety. So what do you think, am I just falling into the trap of our ridiculous modern day obsession with health and safety and ticking all of the right boxes? Is this nursery bad for H just because they're not fullfilling the government written standards on how our children should be learning?

8 comments:

  1. Having worked in a nursery setting (as an administrator) for the last eleven years (prior to little man arriving) I would say you are right to be worried. Have they given you any paper work on policies they hold? They should at the very least have child protection, health and safety for starters. Although I am aware of Montessori nurseries I cannot believe that they are allowed to care for children with no CRB checks in place for staff. And for the record, staff to child ratios should be 1:8. I am appalled that no adults were there supervising them this morning to be blunt!! It's not even whether they are or aren't fulfilling government standards on how children should be learning, this is about basic safety of the children full stop. I am all for creativity and freedom of expression but I would be personally asking them alot of questions about basic safety and supervision of the children xx

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I haven't seen any paperwork or policies. I will ask to have a look at them x

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  2. Hmm I think the 'freedom within limits' could be applied here! Just because they foster independence and free play isn't really the same as unsupervised freedom and free play! Tricky one, I can see why you're concerned if they haven't quite got the balance right...

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    1. Prehaps it was just a one of as the manager was away. We'll have to wait and see I suppose x

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  3. hiya, here are some interesting sites on child ratios etc.

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Preschooldevelopmentandlearning/HelpingYourChildToLearn/index.htm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/numbertime/parents/home_activities/everyday_maths.shtml

    http://www.abrsm.org/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t17767.html

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    1. Thanks for those, I'll take a look x

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  4. it sounds like 1:5 ratio outdoors on school trips ie forest trips, walks etc. so i guess its if u r happy with that ratio. x

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  5. I read that in shock - you have every right to be worried - they should have CRB checks - that's vital for any childcare, and even at a young age they could have a ratio of carers to children. There are some very good Montessori schools out there (but often wondered if its a little over rated - the in thing to do - as the its based on old theory) but there will be some not so good ones as well. I had a look at a Montessori style nursery in my area and it was over running with children - needless to say Little A didn't go there - it was too overwhelming for both her and me!

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I would love to know what you think? Go on make my day. x