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Pioneered by Maria Montessori to educate the poor in Italy, to the uninitiated, Montessori methods may seem like a free-for-all. 

The reality is carefully thought out and planned learning aims, objectives and outcomes.  

Homework, testing and exams are seldom found, the Montessori method concentrates on personal development and progress. Mostly confined to pre-school and early years education in the UK.

Montessori in the classroom

What isn't prescriptive is the route a child will take to get there; creativity and exploration and problem-solving are encouraged, children move freely around the classroom and are wholly involved with and absorbed in their learning, they work at their own pace and are assisted or prompted to solutions only as necessary. Older children join forces with younger, they become instructors and befrienders, revising and reinforcing their own knowledge by working with and helping younger ones. The apparent lack of structure can be a problem for some youngsters; others relish the freedom to explore.

Not for the faint-hearted teacher and nor, it would seem, for the state sector, if attempts by Brighton and Hove Montessori School are anything to go by. They have battled for over a decade to join the state sector, finally going to the schools’ adjudicator, only to be told:

‘It may prove too popular and detract from other schools in the locality’! 

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