Essex primary school becomes first in the UK to be awarded Montessori status

PUBLISHED: 15:41 14 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:56 14 January 2011

Stebbing Primary School headteacher Karen Wallace is presented the Montessori award by Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University

Stebbing Primary School headteacher Karen Wallace is presented the Montessori award by Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University

Archant

A PRIMARY school in Essex has become the first in the UK to be accredited Montessori status.

Stebbing Primary School has been awarded the prestigious accreditation as it offers a ‘child-centred, holistic’ approach to education.

The Montessori method is based on the belief that a child’s early years – from birth to six – are the period where the greatest learning potential exists.

Thrilled headteacher Karen Wallace said: “The award suits the family and community atmosphere of our school.”

With the approval comes a £7000 grant, cash which will be spent on furthering the Montessori ethos in the school by providing the children with “very special” maths equipment.

Despite the new status Mrs Wallace wants the school to first and foremost continue serving the village children.

“We have been a village school for 133 years that has served the local community and we want to stay that way,” she said. “The accreditation means that parents can be reassured that their children’s school is providing a Montessori education of the highest quality.”

What is Montessori and its benefits?

• The method is named after Italy’s first female doctor, Maria Montessori

• Children are encouraged to problem-solve and think independently

• 88 per cent of Montessori schools were graded outstanding or good at the last inspection by Ofsted 2009/10.

• Learning materials are freely available and everything reflects a commitment to quality and to the children’s ability to do things for themselves

• It is a structured approach to learning with a strong emphasis on autonomy, competence and initiative, all nurturing self-discipline

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