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Feeling Comfortable #7

I am starting to recognise traits in children which is reassuring as it means my long hiatus from being in an Early Years setting has not lessened my abilities.  My colleagues in the EY setting confirm what I’m seeing is accurate and are also sharing information about the children and their backgrounds with me, which makes me feel part of the team.

I’ve been watching how my colleagues introduce new information to the children and appreciate the time it takes to build a theme and the activities used to explore it.  The Farm is the theme which has emerged from the children’s interests this month.  This isn’t surprising, as we are in a semi-rural setting and many of the children either live on a farm or have family who work in the farming sector.

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In Ratio #6

This is the 3rd week of my experiment and the first day I am in ratio covering for a member of staff who is on a training day.  I found that being a member of staff impacted on my view of why I was in the setting.  I didn’t feel as free as I had felt being ‘other’.  I reverted to being adult and actually reminded children to sit down or tidy up. Using instructions to stamp my authority and alert the children to my new role as teacher.  I think this need to establish myself as a teacher in the children’s eyes was for my benefit rather than theirs.  On reflection I realise I was nervous. It had been a long time since I had inhabited the role of teacher and I panicked. I became the teacher who had to be in control.  The type of teacher I became was not the one I had been in my own career.  This was a teacher who was unsure of herself and who was scared.  Fortunately I recognised what was happening so I consciously put that teacher aside and started playing with the children.  There’s nothing like being around young children to ground you and force you to relax and be yourself.

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Finding My Place #5

A whole week has passed but this is only my second day in the Early Years setting.  I’m getting to grips with the children’s names and they are getting used to me being there.  I don’t know how the children ‘see’ me or what role they’ve assigned me.  Do they see me as a teacher, visitor, adult or as ‘other’; someone they can’t quite categorise yet?  I have a feeling this is something which bothered me more than it did them as can be clearly seen in the following observation.

During play outdoors 3 children were cooking in the mud kitchen.  The teacher said it was time to come in but as they weren’t ready they got a few minutes to finish what they were doing.  When the extra time had elapsed I said it was time to go.

“Only a teacher can say that”, said Paul who is 4 years old.

“Am I not a teacher?” I asked curiously.

“No!” said Paul, Fred and Keith (children) emphatically.

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The First Day #4

My day started at 6.00am; up and out walking the dog by 6.10am; back home by 7am; shower; toast and half a cup of tea; coffee in travel cup; out the door and in the car by 7.45am.  This whole getting ready for work and actually being on the road before 8am is something I haven’t done often in the last 8 years.  Being self-employed working in a web based business means my day is generally my own.  Unless I have a conference to go to or a meeting to attend I generally don’t start work until 12pm but the flip-side is that I don’t finish until 9pm.

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The Early Years Setting #3

When an idea keeps popping up and invading your thoughts on a weekly or even daily basis you know the universe is trying to tell you something.  That’s how it was with me. I had this constant refrain “I need to spend time with young children” running around in my head like an ear-worm.  So eventually I acted upon it and organised to spend regular slots of time in my friend’s Early Years setting.  It was left up to me to define what I wanted to do while I was there but before any of that could start I had to be Garda Vetting.  I have been vetted on numerous occasions both for work and for volunteering roles so this wasn’t a new experience for me, it was pretty straight forward and was processed quickly.  With everything in place I was free to start my new adventure.

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About Me #2

I’m no spring chicken.  Despite appearances I am over 50 (well just!).  I have worked within the sphere of children since I became a mother which dare I say it, was over a quarter of a century ago.  It’s not a career I have consciously chosen but it is one which still fills me with curiosity and passion. I have learned a lot about myself and know in anything I have done I need to feel ownership of it; I need to understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it for it to be successful.  Otherwise I tend to spend too much time and effort trying to comprehend and decode someone else’s thought processes.  I’m one of those people who mumbles to herself when in the audience at conferences. It can be infuriating for the person I’m sitting beside who thinks I’m talking to them.  I like to question established ideas, not only ideas from other people but also my own ideas, and this leads me to vocalise my thoughts as mumbles.

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A New Direction #1

For the past two years I have been busy; busy doing a Masters; busy trying to keep Montessori Alliance up and running and busy guiding adults through degree programmes in Early Years Studies.  It’s been a chaotic, demanding and rewarding period in my life but I felt there was something missing.  The Masters I undertook was in Children and Youth with a focus on how the voiceless are finding their voice and the way in which it is or isn’t heard.  The programme centred on the rights of the child especially the right of the child to be consulted and have their opinions incorporated into policy and practice in issues which impact on the child’s life.  I’ll talk more about the masters programme in later blogs; I only mention it here because it is what led me to my decision to return to teaching young children.  The programme made me question my approach and how I interacted with young children.  To gain any further insight I needed to be with young children; to be in their company; to be engaged in their world on their terms and I needed to learn to recognise my own preconceptions and shortcomings.

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Integrating the Montessori Pedagogical Approach within the Aistear Curriculum Framework

We were asked to contribute the following article to Ireland’s Year book of Education (2017).

The Montessori pedagogical approach is over a hundred years old.  In many parts of the world it provides a structured learning methodology not only to children at pre-school but to those in primary and secondary level.  In Ireland Montessori and pre-school are considered one and the same.  Indeed when Montessori is mentioned in an educational context it is taken for granted to mean pre-school.  Despite being part of the Irish education system both at pre-school and primary level since 1920, Montessori is most widely recognised as a pedagogical approach for young children, those under 6 years of age.  Nevertheless Montessori schools for children up to 12 years of age exist in Ireland.  They are few and far between, but they are there…

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Report Published – A Review of Early Years Education Focused Inspections, April 2016 – June 2017

The following was originally posted on the Department of Education & Skills website.  The full report can be found here

‘Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone today published a report on the quality of educational provision in early years settings. The report draws from the findings of 867 inspections conducted nationally on providers delivering the state funded Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Free Preschool Programme. These inspections were undertaken to specifically evaluate the quality of children’s learning and development within these settings…

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2nd TUSLA Newsletter issued

The second edition of Tusla’s newsletter is now available on Tusla’s website. It includes useful information on First Aid Response (FAR)…

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Change in the Recruitment Criteria for TUSLA Early Years Inspectors

To date, EY Inspector positions have required candidates to be registered as a Public Health Nurse and hold a QQI Level 9 qualification (Masters Level). Changes to the Early Years Care and Education sector in recent years and the increasing professionalisation of that workforce had led to calls for a broadening of eligibility to the post of Early Years Inspector.

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Videos and Resources

There’s a whole suite of resources and videos on the PBS Learning Media website you may want to check out and use with the children in your setting.  Have a look at this one about dealing with anger

 

Childcare Support Bill 2017

The Childcare Support Bill 2017 has been published and will proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. The bill is an essential element in development of the Affordable Childcare Scheme, which will provide a new approach to supporting affordable access to quality childcare in Ireland..

In addition to the Childcare Support Bill, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs also today published a Regulatory Impact Analysis of the Affordable Childcare Scheme…

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Journal

Have you heard of the Journal of Montessori Research?  If you haven’t then take a look at it.

“The Journal of Montessori Research is a publication of the American Montessori Society (AMS) launched in the [Autumn] of 2015. The founding editor of the publication is Angela Murray, Senior Researcher for AMS.”

 

First Aid Requirement

The following information comes to us via TUSLA and Louth County Childcare Committee

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AIM Inclusive Play Website

Have a look at the new AIM Inclusive Play website which was launched on the 11th of April 2018.  As the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone states on the website,

“AIM Inclusive Play is the latest addition to the suite of supports provided under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM).

AIM Inclusive Play is a set of sensory and educational play resources to support inclusive practice within pre-school settings. This website supports the appropriate and effective use of these resources.

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Síolta Standards Graphic

You probably have your own version of the Síolta Standards you keep close at hand, but if you don’t then this colourful graphic is a handy reminder.

 

Code of Ethics

The following Code of Ethics for Early Years Teachers in Ireland was developed by the Early Years Forum which was established by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2016. The full document can be found here

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Getting the most out of your AIM Resources

If you need ideas about how to utilise the wonderful resources in your AIM pack check out the AIM website.  The website is packed with videos, information and suggestions on how to use the various resources so children experience as much as they can from them.

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To Compliance & Beyond

Dublin City Childcare Committee have produced a new booklet titled To Compliance and Beyond, A Guide for Early Years Services.  The following is taken directly from the introduction section of the booklet.

“This booklet has been written as a guide for Early Years Practitioners to provide information that can support you in achieving compliance with general practice, health and safety and employment legislation.  This guide also highlights additional paperwork that should be kept to ensure best practice and to provide clear information to staff, parents and those who may be inspecting your service.

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Which Report on Slime

The Which website has a handy Slime checker so you can see if the Slime you bought is suitable for children/adults to use.

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What is a Montessori setting?

This video from Countryside Montessori in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA would be excellent to show parents at open evenings or just to link to on your blog/Facebook.  It was made by a Montessori student from a 9-12 year olds class (…)

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#oneunitedvoice

The Association of Childhood Professionals​ rally is less than two weeks away! Have you registered your intention to attend the rally? We’ll be there and hope to see you there too. You may be asking yourself why you should participate (…)

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Pressure

A member of our community who is based in Ireland has articulated how we think many of you are feeling: ‘It’s about time we said enough is enough. Just said to my husband, when I came into this profession 16 (…)

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Touch Up Paint

We have a very active Facebook page with a very generous group of people who we tend to view as a community.  They provide support to fellow teachers, students and parents.  They also ask questions which promote discussions which hopefully (…)

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Bugs in the Classroom=Infectious Enthusiasm – Fiona Ní Riain (Naíonra Matters)

I’m a weirdo. I like bugs and creepy crawlies and reptiles. I find spiders totally engrossing. And one of my earliest memories is trying to feed my ‘pet’ snails grass in their brick ‘house’ in the garden. As a child (…)

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Job Alerts posted during January 2015

Posted 13/01/2015 Employer: FUNtastic Childcare Events Position:  Casual part-time worker to entertain children at weddings, christenings etc. Requirements:   Candidates must be flexible as working hours/days will vary depending on demand. Experience with children of various ages essential. Candidates need to (…)

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#oneunitedvoice – Sinead Matson

In reaction to the news that a new “affordability of childcare” scheme is being brought to the Cabinet tomorrow in Ireland, we can only sigh. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Sector have been calling for direct investment in (…)

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Level 6 Award pre Common Award Standard

Clarification from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs regarding Montessori Level 6 awards issued pre Common Awards Standard (CAS) was received by Childcare Committees and VCOs recently.  It states that the 6 Montessori component awards at Level 6 which (…)

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Letters – David King

Back at the start of October  the pupils in the Glebe Primary Montessori started work on projects. The projects came out of one child’s interest in the Queens Guards. As a result, we delved into lessons revolving around England and (…)

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Biology Jigsaws

We’ve created 6 jigsaws and 6 matching control cards for Garden Birds of Ireland. The download costs €1.99 and can be purchased from our shop.

 

Conference Review – Start Strong – ‘Childcare’ Business or Profession? – Pamela Purcell & Lyn Bowers

A delegation from Montessori Alliance attended Start Strong’s Conference ‘Childcare’ Business or Profession? which was held on the 3rd of December 2014 in the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin. After the welcome address by the Chair of Start Strong Tony (…)

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Buy and Download our Resources

A few simple clicks is all it takes to add a wealth of resources to your shelves.  Visit our online shop to purchase our Language, Mathematics, Biology, History and Geography material in pdf format.  A link will be emailed to (…)

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Art & Craft ideas for Christmas

As we are now sprinting towards Christmas we thought you could do with a little bit of inspiration.  Most of the ideas and links below are at least 2 years old and originally appeared in our December 2011 newsletter. We (…)

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“The hand is the instrument of the brain” – Sinead Matson

Sinead Matson is one of the Administrators of Montessori Alliance and this blog was written by her 3 and a half weeks post op. On October 16th I woke up to a seizure.  An ambulance was called and I was (…)

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Health & Safety Issue

On foot of a comment made by a member of our community about the recall of parachutes that are used for play in many early years settings & were supplied by the Sports Partnership in Ireland, we contacted Limerick Childcare (…)

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Halloween Activities

We know the best form of inspiration comes from other Early Years professionals who have used their imaginations to create something you or I wouldn’t necessarily think of doing.  Halloween is just around the corner and the ideas are flying (…)

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Telling It As It Is – A Childcare Worker

I am every-woman (or everyman).  I live in every county in the country. I work in crèches, playschools, preschools, Montessori, Steiner, and High Scope centres, forest schools and home-school hubs.   I offer quality care and education to babies, infants, children (…)

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A Taste of Autumn – Bea Sommer

We’re lucky enough to be part of a very active and generous community. During the past month we came across Bea Sommer’s beautiful pictures which we thought really captured Autumn in Ireland. We contacted Bea and asked if we could (…)

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Invitation

In recognition of the valuable role Pre-school providers can play in promoting children’s health and well-being, Department of Health funding has been made available to BCCN, the Border Counties Childhood Network to secure the nationwide delivery of the Healthy Ireland (…)

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Outdoor Play & Learning Centre – Irene Teeling

My name is Irene Teeling and I have recently been accepted into the final five in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition for our region. I stand a 1 in 5 chance of being put forward to the national final and (…)

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Increased Workload – Caroline McDonnell

Caroline McDonnell runs a service in Kentstown, Navan, Co. Meath.  She felt so strongly about recent changes Pobal have introduced, that she decided to put pen to paper and let the people who are making the changes and creating the (…)

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Autumn Resources

We have a number of resources available to download from our website for the theme of Autumn.  If you’re a subscriber to our website these resources are included in your subscription so all you need to do is click here (…)

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What to do

We’ve been contacted a number of times about a child’s challenging behaviour in a setting and while we are not experts we like to help by providing a listening ear and supporting the childhood professional in whatever way we can.  (…)

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HighScope All Ireland Conference 2014

HighScope Ireland Institute are holding an all Ireland conference on Monday the 13th of October 2014 in the Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, co. Mayo. Speakers include Dr. Geraldine Neylon who is an assistant professor in Early Childhood Education and Shannon (…)

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Employment References – Angela Canavan

The taking up of references is an important part of any recruitment process.  Employers depend on it as part of their selection criteria so that they can secure the best person for the job. Employees, on the other hand rely (…)

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Spring, the season of new life & new challenges – Trish Murphy Murray

Greetings from Margaret River – August 2014 We are starting our 4th week of term tomorrow, with another 6 to go after that!  June, July & August is Winter time in Australia, so where we are in the South West (…)

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Closing Cherubs Montessori School – Gabrielle McManus

On Friday July 18th 2014 I 100% decided to close my Montessori school. I started to realise that I might have to close in May when, after having 2000 leaflets delivered, enrollments for September were not coming. When the school (…)

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Online Shop

Visit our new online shop to purchase our Language, Mathematics, Biology, History and Geography material in pdf format.  A link will be emailed to you so you can download the pdfs you have purchased as soon as payment has been (…)

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Have a Look inside

The January 2012 edition of our Newsletter contained a gallery of pictures which showed the layout of rooms in 5 Early Years settings, 3 located in Ireland, 1 in Italy and 1 in South Africa. We decided to repost the (…)

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Montessori to Aistear Mapping Tool

The Montessori to Aistear Mapping tool enables the adult to map the exercises the child uses in a Montessori environment to the Aistear Curriculum Framework. This resource itemised the Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture exercises and indicates which (…)

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How many people are working in your setting?

Here is the result of the little piece of research we asked people who visit our Facebook page to participate in. We had 28 respondents which really isn’t a lot so if you feel inclined to add how many people (…)

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Our Outdoor Space – Rachel Berns, Kavan Kids Kreche

Just a brief  outline of our story.  Kavan Kids Kreche has been open since June 12th 2006, and this years is our 8th anniversary. We are a full day care and Montessori. We also have a Montessori school in Redhills.  (…)

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Pre Fetac Qualifications…

Just in case you want to check where your pre FETAC qualification sits on the National Framework of Qualifications have a look at this extract from the DCYA website. Qualifications that are not on the National Qualifications Framework ‘If you (…)

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Anti Bullying Strategies – Pamela Purcell

Do you think the Montessori Method is particularly good at heading off any tendencies for an individual child or group of children to dominate another child? If you think it is, perhaps it is because you feel the Montessori Method (…)

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