We are sharing here the blog from our favourite charity MEfA Montessori:
Beyond 100 Days …
Tuesday March 17th was a tearful day for our parents and teachers alike. We decided to close our beautiful MEfA Montessori School, days ahead of Government guidance for all schools to close, because of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus.
During the past 3.5 months we have needed to cancel the MEfA Montessori Waldon Therapy Training, the 2020 Alumni Conference, Summer Party and the Graduation Event for Cohort 20 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course, Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation
We have also cancelled the September 2020 Cohort of Part 2 of our training. At present our Annual Conference for Parents and Professionals is still scheduled for October – let us see what the pandemic situation is, and whether anyone wants, or is allowed, to travel to busy events.
2020 is the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Dr Maria Montessori. We had planned to travel to Chiaravalle and Rome during the summer to attend celebratory conferences. Also, Autumn term plans to run MEfA SEN training in Pondicherry (India) and Bergen (Norway), and the annual Nienhuis Montessori Retreat in Zelham (Holland) have all been put on hold.
All in all, the loss of school fees and income from conferences/training has put a significant strain on our charity’s finances.
It is 3 months since the Government announced the employee furlough scheme. Our head teacher is currently furloughed, and it is likely that she will continue part-time on the scheme until its cessation.
On 29th June 2020, the Government decreed that all schools in England will reopen with full classes in September. Happily, as we are a charity, we do not come under the auspices of this legislation. We ‘locked down’ before it was mandatory to do so, and we will most likely ‘unlock’ a little later – after we see what transpires. Our current plans are to reopen slowly in September.
Siebert Road, our vehicular access road, has been designated a Greenwich School Street – Invicta Primary School is accessed by this road. A School Street is closed to motor vehicles at drop of and pick up times. This means that we will not have vehicular access to our Montessori Forest School and Well-being Area between 08:00 – 09:30 and 15:00 – 16:00, causing some issues for staff arriving and leaving and anyone needing access during these times. There will be a consultation about whether to make the scheme a permanent fixture. It is likely that we will contribute to say that the disabled bay opposite our school gates will be inaccessible during the planned ‘school streets’ times. https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200259/transport_and_travel/2047/school_streets
We have been gradually opening our Forest School and Well-being Area – outdoors only – and several staff and families (socially distanced of course) have come to explore the bounties of our fruits, flowers, veggies and general loveliness outdoors. We have sweet peas, eating peas, broad beans, runner beans, coco beans, courgettes, tomatoes, sweet and chilli peppers, radishes, carrots and beetroots. And (although we should never start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’) lots of lovely flowers – also our grapevine, apple tree and lemon tree.
We had a bit of a wobble when we received an email from our website host on 29th May to tell us that they were closing on 30th June! Then the cavalry arrived! We are forever indebted to our lovely neighbour Vicky Rubery who helped us to design and migrate the website and emails you can now see at www.montessorieducationforautism.com / email@example.com
Today, 30th June 2020, is 100 days since the UK locked down.
Let’s wait and see what’s beyond 100 days …
Wildwood Montessori started out as a tiny home-school in the idyllic West Pennine Moors of Lancashire, UK. Days were spent making maps and playing violins on Holcombe Hill; sometimes watching veils of rains nursing the hills of Derbyshire, other times squidging winberries to make fabric dyes or just laying down and experiencing the volume of seasonal nature, time and space.
Soon, other families were eager to join us, and some even trusted us with their ‘special’ children who were failing to thrive – or not reaching the potential their parents knew was there – at regular schools. There is a saying that parents are children’s first and best teachers, and I believe this.
A big step up came when I was asked to write an Expert Witness report involving an incident with a child with special needs. Things have grown apace and now this is a regular part of Wildwood’s work.
A big highlight was being awarded the inaugural ‘Montessori Special Award’ – amazing, out of all the Montessori teachers in the UK!
Soon I was writing for the special education pages of many publications, and also standalone booklets including ‘Montessori Meets the Early Learning Goals’ and the 2007 ‘Montessori Centenary Supplement’.
Enough for now ….
Keep safe and well,