Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College

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Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College

About the Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College

Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College is a higher education institution that provides prospective Montessori teachers with the best possible Montessori education. It is proudly Namibian.

It is the only Montessori training institution in Namibia. It is committed to providing access and opportunity to students of all ages, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It aims to provide a positive, inclusive atmosphere and environment based on the mutual co-operation of all involved in its activities.

Respect is at the heart of the Montessori philosophy and the respect that Montessori adults show the children in their care is also extended to adult learners and trainers. Consistent with these values, a model laboratory classroom is an integral part of the institution.

Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College desires to develop Montessori-based educators of the highest quality, who will serve and support the child with all sectors of the Namibian education system.

The college principal is Dr Lindsay van den Berg who has been involved in Montessori and teaching, within Namibia and Africa for 30+ years. Dr Lindsay (as known by the students) has served as owner/principal of a number of Montessori schools. She has also been involved in several Montessori organisations both in Africa and abroad. Dr Lindsay holds a BA in Education and Psychology, an MSc in Educational Psychology and a PhD in Educational Management as well as six Montessori teaching diplomas.

The College offers only two courses and that encourages the trainers to specialise and operate in accordance with comprehensive Quality Assurance policies and practices, covering all aspects of the learner engagement from enquiry and admission to graduation. We are proud of our graduates.

Historical Background

Headstart Montessori has been in Namibia for about 30 years! I began the first Montessori Pre-Primary School at the coast in Walvis Bay. It was a modest beginning: 10 children in the converted garage of my home. I really wasn’t sure that Walvis Bay was ready for Montessori, but 30 years later, I realise it was!

The school grew and quickly moved to a church hall and eventually a couple of years later I was able to purchase our own building. Ultimately I started the first private school at the coast, a Montessori Elementary (Primary) school and now we have our own unique campus with an elementary Laboratory classroom, a pre-primary class and a toddler group.

It was a fun and exciting time.

Almost from day one, and definitely within the first year, I took on my first student, a young girl from Cape Town who needed a school for observation purposes but stayed quite a few weeks to practice, be mentored and assist.

I quickly realised that if I wanted trained personnel, I was going to have to ‘do it myself’ and after training for a couple of years for a large overseas Montessori organisation I decided that again, if I wanted to see authentic Montessori schools in Namibia, I was going to have to write a Montessori course, in Namibia, for Namibians but one that would be able to stand up against those on offer from the UK, America and even South Africa.

First came the Pre-Primary course and later the Elementary course. Both are designed with the children of our country in mind, emphasising the important subjects of Mathematics, English and Science, even for the three-year-old child.

Both are accredited with the Namibia Qualifications Authority at Levels 5 & 6 respectively. We are one of few colleges who offer Montessori courses that are both accredited and accepted by our Department of Education.

30 years for many is almost a lifetime. The experience gained has been ploughed back into Headstart and the College is growing every year. I wonder what the next 30 years will bring?

Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College Courses Offered

Montessori Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Pre-Primary Teaching Diploma

The purpose of this course is:

  • To provide access to a recognised ECD qualification including a Montessori bias.
  • To enable students to plan and implement a Montessori learning programme based on knowledge of child development from 2 to 6 years and work with children in a specific phase work towards achieving the learning outcomes of Grade 0 or R.
  • To improve community-based ECD services for young children by raising the level of ECD Montessori teaching competence and/or by providing opportunities for training in support and leadership roles.

The Flexi-time Learning programme can be completed within three/four years and is dependent on the time you can devote to study. The materials are given to you as 3 separate modules. They are designed to be completed sequentially. Regular face-to-face seminars, workshops and practice sessions will be held to support the practical component of the programme.

You must complete forty hours (per year) of directed observations; and attend workshops/seminars totalling a minimum of 360 hours for the entire programme (minimum of 120 contact hours per module).

Montessori Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Pre-Primary Teaching Diploma

The purpose of this course is:

  • To provide access to a recognised ECD qualification including a Montessori bias.
  • To enable students to plan and implement a Montessori learning programme based on knowledge of child development from 2 to 6 years and work with children in a specific phase work towards achieving the learning outcomes of Grade 0 or R.
  • To improve community-based ECD services for young children by raising the level of ECD Montessori teaching competence and/or by providing opportunities for training in support and leadership roles.

The Flexi-time Learning programme can be completed within three/four years and is dependent on the time you can devote to study. The materials are given to you as 3 separate modules. They are designed to be completed sequentially. Regular face-to-face seminars, workshops and practice sessions will be held to support the practical component of the programme.

You must complete forty hours (per year) of directed observations; and attend workshops/seminars totalling a minimum of 360 hours for the entire programme (minimum of 120 contact hours per module).

Montessori-based Primary (Elementary) Teaching Diploma

Accredited with the Namibia Qualifications Authority at Level 6.

» Read about the Namibia Qualifications Framework

Completion of the Pre-Primary course is a prerequisite for students of this course

How to Apply to the Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College

Prospective students should be a minimum of 18 years of age and have a Grade 12 certificate with proficiency in English. There may be a case for prospective students to receive Recognition of Prior Learning or Life Experience if they do not fulfil the entry requirements.

Prospective students must submit the following together with a completed application form:

  • A certified copy of a birth certificate (if not a Namibian this must be accompanied by a study visa)
  • A certified copy of a Namibian identity document
  • 2 passport photos
  • Proof of payment of the course deposit is given
  • Signed course payment agreement.
  • Certified copies of school transcripts.

Upon successful application, the student is assigned a trainer who they may contact via mail, fax, phone or e-mail if advice or assistance is required.

Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College Contact Details

4 Seventh Street South, Meersig
P O Box 1379
Walvis Bay
Namibia

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Tel: +264 (64) 220 959
Cell: +264 81 124 0730
Fax: +264 (64) 200 439

Principal:
Dr Lindsay van der Berg
lindsay@headstart.com.na

Administrator:
Ms Helenn Imbili
info@headstart.com.na

Frequently Asked Questions

What courses does Headstart Montessori Teacher Training College offer?

You can find more information on our courses here.

Is Headstart only a training facility or is it a school as well?

We do offer places for primary level children. Please visit the page about our laboratory class for more information.

Is there some general information about Headstart that I can download?

The Headstart College Student Handbook provides a lot of important information.

Where did Montessori come from?

Montessori (pronounced MON-tuh-SORE-ee) education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, a century after Maria Montessori’s first casa dei bambini (“children’s house”) in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.

What special training do Montessori teachers have?

As with the choice of a Montessori school for children, an adult must also exercise wisdom in choosing a teacher training course. Anyone can legally use the name “Montessori” in describing their teacher training organisation. One must be sure the certification earned is recognised by the school where one desires to teach.

Plus, the training organisation must be accredited by the qualifications authority of the host country, also the institution must be registered with the Council of Higher Education. There are courses, such as “distance learning” or “correspondence courses” but they do not fully prepare one for the intensive and fulfilling work with a classroom of children.

When choosing a training course it is important to balance the amount of time and money one can spend with the teaching opportunities desired, and to find out ahead of time if your certification earned will allow you to teach in a school you are considering.

Is Montessori good for children with learning disabilities? What about gifted children?

Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes. Moreover, multi-age grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling “ahead” or “behind” in relation to peers.

How do I find Montessori schools in my area?

There are many Montessori schools in Namibia, but it is important to be aware that the word “Montessori” is not legally protected and can be used by anyone. This may have tarnished the name here in Namibia. Look in your phone book, get the literature of local schools, observe, and compare what you learn with you read on this site.

How many Montessori schools are there?

There are at least 7,000 Montessori schools worldwide. There are between 10 and 14 already in Namibia.

Why does Montessori have multi-age classrooms?

Multi-age classrooms afford us the luxury of adapting the curriculum to the individual child. Each child can work at his or her own pace, while remaining in community with his or her peers. In addition, the multi-age format allows all older children to be the leaders of the classroom community – even those children who may be shy or quiet.

The schedule – The three-hour work period

Under the age of six, there are one or two 3-hour, uninterrupted, work periods each day, not broken up by required group lessons. Older children schedule meetings or study groups with each other and the teacher when necessary. Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously or are arranged ahead by special appointment. They almost never take precedence over self-selected work.

Note: For more information on the “three-hour work period” see the chapter “My Contribution to Experimental Science” from The Advanced Montessori Method, Volume I, by Dr. Maria Montessori.

Multiage grouping

Children are grouped in mixed ages and abilities in three to six year spans: 0-3, 3-6, 6-12 (sometimes temporarily 6-9 and 9-12), 12-15, 15-18. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child-to-child teaching, and socialisation. Children are challenged according to their ability and never bored.

Work centers

The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. At any one time in a day all subjects – math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc., will be being studied, at all levels.

Teaching method – “Teach by teaching, not by correcting”

There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what he needs in order to improve.

Who accredits or oversees Montessori schools?

No one body can accredit the Montessori element of schools, but there are state requirements for schools in general. There are several Montessori organisations to which schools can belong. In Namibia schools can accredit to the South African Montessori Association and The Montessori Professions Council. Parents considering placing a child in a Montessori school should ask about the school’s affiliation(s).

Parents must carefully research, and observe a classroom in operation, in order to choose a real Montessori school for their child.

Are Montessori schools religious?

Some are, but most are not. Some Montessori schools, just like other schools, operate under the auspices of a church, synagogue, or diocese, but most are independent of any religious affiliation.

Is Montessori a franchise? Who can open a Montessori school?

The term Montessori is not trademarked and anyone, regardless of training, experience or affiliation can open a “Montessori” school. It is essential that parents researching Montessori act as good consumers to ensure the authenticity of their chosen program.

Are Montessori children successful later in life?

Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardised tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.

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