Kate Walsh recently celebrated her great achievements with her peers at the annual graduation at Croke Park.  Before commencing her studies at Portobello Institute Kate had been working in retail up to management level for 13 years. However, she realised that retail management was not where she wanted to be long term and so began thinking about what she would really like to do and importantly what she feels excited about.

“I began to think about what it was I wanted to do when I was younger which was teaching. I wasn't sure if I had it in me to start afresh and put myself through years of study. One day I saw a group of young children leaving a Montessori and a light bulb switched on - I always wanted to teach young children so why not look at Montessori or preschool rather than primary school teaching”.

Kate did her research, from online and speaking to people in the childcare industry, Portobello Institute appeared to be one of the best and most highly recommended Montessori courses. “I also went to an open day and was able to discuss the different courses available one on one and all of my questions were answered”.

“I couldn't believe that in one year I could complete a Level 6 Major Award in Childcare with Montessori and would be able to begin working right away and even open my own Montessori school if I wanted. I had the best college experience and the support from both tutors and staff was amazing. The course was everything I hoped it would be and more”.

Kate admits she wasn't familiar with the Montessori Method of teaching before commencing the course. “I was thinking I could do the course and perhaps go on from there to primary teaching. From the very first day, when I learned of Maria Montessori's fascinating life and her unique teaching methodologies I fell in love with Montessori”.

Advice from Kate for students is to be prepared to put a lot of time into the course. “The tutors have a real passion for what they do and they were there whenever we needed them to discuss our work and help us with whatever we needed. They listened, guided and pushed us all to do the best that we could and more. The class size was small and this was really good as everyone gets the same time and opportunities to ask questions and discuss things in class”.

Kate found the course content to be really relevant covering every aspect of Montessori in detail through hands on learning. “We had class three days a week and then completed work experience in a Montessori the remaining two days. This meant that you could really put into practice what you had been learning in class. Work Experience is a huge part of the course and it really helps you to put the new skills you are learning into practice and prepares you for the real world”.

Kate described herself as very fortune to be placed in a beautiful Montessori school close to where she lives and was over the moon when she was offered a job there.  “I am so glad that I decided to do the course with Portobello Institute. My life really has changed in the past year and all for the better. I really can't believe how lucky I am to be where I am now and genuinely enjoy going to work every day with a smile on my face”.

Future plans look bright for Kate with ambitions to one day open her own Montessori school but for now she is really happy and is looking forward to the journey ahead as a Montessori teacher.