15 April, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

Discovering ECCE and Montessori was a 'Eureka Moment'

ECCE Montessori Teaching

After 25 years of working in investment markets, a change to early years education was the perfect ‘Eureka moment’ for Portobello student Anne-Marie Parnell. 

After a redundancy meant moving home to Ireland from Australia with her family, Anne-Marie took some time to consider what she really wanted. 

With the help of some friends and narrowing down her interests, she realised her passion lay in teaching younger children.

It was something she had always considered in the back of her mind and realising that Montessori teaching was an option gave her a new path to follow.

“I always had that pull to work with children. All the things I’ve ever done have been with children, I volunteered as a cub leader, taught children Irish dancing, girl guides.

"I didn’t want to be a secondary school teacher because the children are too old for me, and if I want to be a primary school teacher, I only want to teach the very junior classes, so I realised I only want to teach four-year-olds really! So that’s when I started to look into it, it was a Eureka moment.  

I suppose with the lockdowns I said if I don’t study now when am I ever going to do it so that was a kick to do it. 

"I have three kids, I’m quite busy and I work for my husband’s business. I could have just stayed ticking along or I could do something about it so I’m delighted now I’m so far into the course, but it was completely brand new to me,” she said. 

With no experience as an early years practitioner, Anne-Marie is gaining the knowledge and confidence to talk about the Montessori curriculum and is looking forward to getting into the classroom and owning her own setting one day. 

“It's given me really in-depth knowledge of the Montessori curriculum that I wouldn’t have known. It is an incredible course so it's given me that whole wealth of knowledge and confidence when I am talking to people, they say ‘what is Montessori?’ because people think it’s just a style of day care but to be able to explain it now with confidence and certainty you can see people going wow that’s amazing, that’s really nice to be able to talk about it. 

It’s nice for me having not studied for a long time to see that my brain does still does actually work which is kind of nice after having a few children and not having worked, I have missed that stimulation of working all day in an office in a challenging job and to pull away from that you start to doubt yourself can you actually apply it at all, so it’s given me confidence,” she said. 


Blended Learning 

After taking on the course following a recommendation from a friend and past student at Portobello Institute, Anne-Marie was quickly reassured that she had made the right decision.  

“I was recommended the course by a friend of mine who is a primary school teacher and who did this course a few years ago. She recommended it to me and said that she found it really good and the tutors were really good.

"The communication from the college, the response times have been really good. Olivia and Sarah (tutors) are both good with communication, keeping us up to date on what’s coming up and answering questions, that has been excellent. I’ve never felt like I’ve been out in the cold just because we’re not in person in the college or a bit more present. 

“The portal is very good, I have no problem navigating my way around it or. The videos that are up there have been good. I have no problem logging into the online classes, finding the classes there was a couple I missed so being able to watch them back was great. Even to go back and watch it again so you’re not so stressed about scribbling down points trying to listen and ask questions or you might miss a bit at least it’s there and you can go back during the week and re-watch it,” she explained.  

“Amy (tutor) is fabulous, ten out of ten, she is brilliant you can tell she has so much experience and stories for every bit of theory which for me makes a massive difference that’s how you can really absorb a fact from someone who says ‘and in my class this is how it works’. She’s really friendly, really encouraging in any emails back and forth she normally gets back in the same day with feedback, and it has been great.

“I was nervous about starting it and thinking could I study again because I haven’t studied in 20 years that was self-doubt really that probably made me hold off for so long but once you got in and registered and the communication starts to flow you feel very comfortable. The fact that I could see it was designed for people with families who were already working it was perfect for me,” she said.  

Could you overcome your doubts and fears of studying like Anne-Marie? Could you start a new life journey you have always dreamed of just like she is?

Portobello Institute offers ECCE with Montessori courses. You can sign up now and get started on your modules straight away.

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