“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.” Maria Montessori
We follow the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), who was an Italian physician and teacher, with beliefs well before her time.

• What are the differences between traditional teaching and Montessori?

Montessori teaching is a personal process where children learn through exploration and experience in a child centred environment. There are no set grades, tests or competition.  Montessori schools encourage children of different ages to work together, with younger children learning through observation from their older peers in a vertical learning environment.
The Montessori Method also places great importance on the strong development of social skills. Montessori schools teach children how to be courteous, polite, and respectful according to the customs of their local culture.

• What are the qualities of a Montessori teacher?

An active and curious learner who observes and respects each child’s unique and individual learning needs.  The teacher knows the importance of a rich and prepared environment. A Montessori teacher demonstrates, observes, encourages and creates a rich learning environment.  Montessori teachers also encourage children to learn by doing. One of Maria Montessori’s famous quotes says “I know I have succeeded as a teacher when the children are now working as though I do not exist.”

• What training is required to become a qualified Montessori teacher?

The programme which trains Potential Montessori teachers is the QQI Level 6 ECCE programme.  This programme  is delivered in 2 parts. The first part is delivered over one academic year and focuses on the minor awards that deliver learning in the Montessori method and pedagogy. Classes are split between the practical Montessori approach and theory training.  At the end of Part 1 students are fully qualified Montessori teacher however they must complete part 2 of the programme to be qualified to work in the capacity of a room leader and supervision in any Montessori Room. On completion of part 1 and 2 of the programme they will have the qualifications to open their own Montessori setting. 

• What training is required to work in childcare?

From 31 December 2016, as stated in the Child Care Act (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, all staff working directly with children must hold a minimum of QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education. If you are providing the ECCE scheme all ECCE room leaders must hold a minimum QQI Level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent) from December 2016.  This is a requirement of the ECCE contract.
A higher capitation is available to Preschool Services where the Preschool Leader has achieved a major award in early childhood care and education at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and where the assistants have achieved the minimum Level 5 Award.

• Is the Montessori approach very rigid?

No. In a typical Montessori classroom you will observe recognisable standard didactic materials such as the pink tower, the coloured tablets, dressing frames, objects in baskets, trays, or boxes and arranged on shelves attractively. Each piece of work contains purposeful activities that are designed to teach a specific concept.  However children are given the freedom to move about and choose whatever piece of material they wish and stay with it for as long as they desire. It is when the child is ready that the teacher is there to assist and teach. It is a very respectful way of teaching and not in any way rigid.

• In childcare what are my options?

QQI Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) – we offer Level 5 & 6 programmes.
QQI Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) with Montessori – Level 6 programme.

Option 1: Blended Learning QQI ECCE Level 5 and 6

These courses are delivered through blended learning - there will be a mixture of live lectures, online learning, directed home tasks and online/phone support from your personal tutor. Students will attend 8 Saturday workshops – 1 workshop per module (every 6 weeks).
To meet the needs of an expanding ECCE sector Portobello Institute aims to provide a solid, integrated, unified approach to the delivery of ECCE training. Certificates are now obtained through a new Common Award System (CAS) and awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).  Our Early Childhood courses aim to develop in our learners the highest level of professional competence as practitioners, establishing in them a wide knowledge and a deep understanding of educational practices in conjunction with the principles set down by Síolta: the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear: the Framework for Early Learning.
This qualification will allow you to work as a room leader or supervisor under the ECCE scheme. You will be qualified to work with children from 0 – 6 within the broader childcare settings. This course is ideal for those currently working within an early years setting.

Option 2: Part time QQI ECCE Level 6 with Montessori

This course is delivered as a full time, part time and Distance Learning programme. 

• What is the right course for me?

Each individual’s interest and needs from a programme vary. If you want to work with younger children in a care capacity only then maybe the QQI Level 5 or 6 programmes might be the best choice for you. If you wish to work with young children in an educational capacity then the QQI ECCE Level 6 with Montessori might be your best option. The most popular programme is our Part time QQI ECCE Level 6 with Montessori part time.

• Are qualifications internationally recognised?

Yes. Our ECCE courses are certified through QQI and consequently are placed on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) which makes these courses internationally recognisable. This will allow you to use your qualifications all over the world.

• Are there many employment opportunities for Childcare practitioners in Ireland?

Yes with the current ECCE funding structure and mandatory qualifications requirements the need for highly qualified Childcare practitioners are high. There are approximately 4,000 early years’ settings in Ireland and 24,000 Early Years practitioners required to staff these settings.