Dr Maria Montessori was born in 1870, and 26 years later went on to become the first woman in Italy to become a qualified doctor. After qualifying she was appointed assistant doctor in a clinic within the University of Rome, to work and observe children in a scientific manner. Without the usual pre-conceived educational ideas, she was able to create new techniques of education, which would emphasize the ‘unique’ development of each child. This has led to the Montessori Approach believing strongly in spontaneity and independence whereby the child is encouraged to select their own activities to explore and manipulate for themselves.
Research into this approach has shown that the earlier a child learns to interact with others, the more developed their social skills and confidence is in the future. A Preschool of good standing – like SMILES Montessori – has been proven to aid greatly in the development of the child. “All children have an innate desire to learn”, this philosophy enthused by Dr. Maria Montessori, is practised by the whole nursery through three traditional Montessori principles. These are:-
These three principles guide teachers to “control the environment” and not the child. To look at the child as an unknown entity or being and allows the child’s true nature to freely emerge.
Smiles Montessori Pre School first opened its doors in January 2002, within six months we were almost at full capacity with 65 children per day ranging in age from 3 months to 5 years. The nursery serves the community of Harlow and its surrounding areas.
Over the years the nursery has progressed to obtain an Outstanding Ofsted inspection. Training is always ongoing with the staff so that current legislation and ideas are always at the top of our agenda.
In June 2013 we opened our doors to our second Montessori nursery just around the corner in Newhall. We have converted one of Newhall’s buildings to accommodate 45 children whilst the purpose built nursery is being built, we will then be able to take 90 children a day. It will most definitely be a state of the art building when completed and we hope to open the doors in 2015.
Julia Jeffrey is the owner of both our sites she has always had a passion for working with early years, Julia has always been committed to life long learning and is part of many groups within the community to help raise standards. Julia has gained all her qualifications including a Degree in Early Years Education, Early Years Professional Status and the Montessori Diploma. She has been working in the sector for over 20 years and has played a key role in the ongoing success of both nurseries. Julia leads and manages the current team effectively and is a great motivator, displaying a shared sense of direction, pride and energy.