Carol Nayagom, Head of the Montessori’s Cool Establishment
I began my professional career in the transport and logistics business. After 7 years in the United States then in France, I decided to devote my life to the education of children and joined IUFM in order to become a primary school teacher.
It was through my daughter Madeleine, a pupil at Montessori’s Cool, that I met Mathilde Bourdin – the school’s founder – and discovered for myself the Montessori teaching method. The encounter led to a lasting friendship, over and above a shared passion for the development of children.
I joined the teaching staff at Montessori’s Cool in 2013 and then took over as school principal in September 2014.
I have a Master degree in transport/logistics and a master degree in education and teaching. I also hold the diploma as an educator for 3 to 6 year-olds awarded by the Institut Supérieur Maria Montessori.
I am supported by my husband Vincent and my four children, all seasoned travellers, multi-lingual and dedicated fans.
The Teaching Staff at Montessori’s Cool
Our teaching staff consists of six educators (3 French-speaking, 3 English-speaking), all AMI qualified (Association Montessori Internationale) from the ISMM. The Institute proposes refresher courses each year together with monitoring groups to facilitate exchanges between schools. The team’s documentation includes a range of literature, including Maria Montessori, Célestin Freinet, Faber & Mazlish, and Marshall Rosenberg.
They are a highly motivated team, keen to keep moving forward and go about their jobs. For an educator, the child is a guide. It is all about observing children in order to propose activities that arouse their interest and then step in as discreetly and as fairly as possible in order to create a climate of confidence, joy and freedom. Teachers continually challenge themselves, train and develop their practice. The team is dynamic, unflappable, stable and supportive, and staff take great pleasure in working together. We are always querying our work with a permanent desire to improve and share a common project. Each member participates in decision-making and so feels involved and responsible.
We would like our school to remain a place of research, because one thing that children teach us is that there is no such thing as certainty in education. The art of querying and challenging constitutes one of our fundamental qualities.
For a child to be in a situation of learning, he or she has to feel an atmosphere of security, both materially and emotionally. Respectful teaching is grounded in communication, listening and empathy.
“Communicating in a non-violent way, being available to children, observing and listening to understand their needs, are basic attitudes for any considerate educator. Adults then have to find the right place between excessive control and effacement. It is important to provide children with the environment they need to act and experiment on their own. It is, then, a question of trust whilst providing flexible but clear benchmarks.”
Sophie Bouquet-Rabhi, La Ferme des Enfants. Une pédagogie de bienveillance, Actes Sud, Arles, 2011.
Our team is schooled in the reception of emotions according to the Faber & Mazlish method, in active listening according to the principles of Thomas Gordon, and in the grammar of emotions by Isabelle Filliozat.
Throughout their schooling, they acquire the capacity to express their viewpoint through argumentation, they learn to listen to and respect others, to cooperate and to experience their emotions within a group. They manage to handle conflicts by becoming a mediator.
For example, the approach via “multiple intelligences” helps to (re-)enhance the skills of pupils, thereby giving them greater self-confidence. The “philosophical debate” enables pupils to gradually find another stance with the class group. Some shy or usually unassertive pupils within a group will increase their self-confidence by regularly taking the floor during a debate inspired by themselves and by their peers, while adult intervention remains confined to a role of moderator. In this way, newly motivated pupils speak out more often in other classes, and in some cases leads to their becoming much more dynamic in class and more in tune with their comrades.