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Rosemary Gosse: Teaching Kids and Training Adults with Montessori

November, 2009
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Following ten years of work in the IT sector with Northern Telecom in Canada, Rosemary Gosse decided to make a career change and trained as a Montessori early childhood teacher at the Foundation for Montessori Education in Toronto. 
"My children were attending a Montessori school and I was fascinated by the materials and how well the children were acquiring skills and knowledge, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics”, said Mrs. Gosse.
After teaching at Dearcroft Montessori School, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected institutions, for 17 years, working as a teacher trainer at Sheridan college, and heading up the Early Childhood program at Dearcroft for the last 6 years, she came to Beijing in July and joined Etonkids International Kindergarten (Etonkids) as the Principal of Etonkids’ Global Trade Mansion Campus, as well as Practicum Coordinator of Etonkids Montessori Teacher Training Academy.
Mrs. Gosse hopes to help the school strengthen its Montessori education by standardizing practices and setting up assessment tools to measure how students are progressing.
"We want to make sure that at Etonkids, you are getting an authentic Montessori education,” she said.
In her eyes, there is no better way to educate children than Montessori. The uniqueness of Montessori is the environment and the teacher. She believes that Montessori really caters to how children learn.
Firstly, the environment is filled with materials that are very unique and manipulative, so that the children really understand things at the most basic level. These are the basic concepts that they need to understand to be successful in higher education.
Secondly, the teacher has a very extensive background in child development. They understand what’s normal, what’s not normal, when to intervene, when to allow the child to continue, and when to wait for maturity to kick in. They know the materials and the child, and they can put them together in creative ways.
"Children are not sitting at a desk in rows receiving information; instead they are finding out information for themselves by exploring a concept with the support of teachers. It’s been proven over the last 20 years at least that this is exactly how children learn.”
The principal’s other challenge is taking the advantage of her rich experience to educate Etonkids teachers together with several other trainers. Currently there is a class of 49 intern teachers under her training.
According to Rosemary, the training program at Etonkids is very collaborative. The teacher trainees are always raising questions as to why it is done this way, how they can do it another way, and how they can change it so that it is adapted to the needs of each individual child.
"Those were the things I learned on the job, whereas these trainee teachers are getting it right from the very beginning,” she said. "This makes me take a good look at my own philosophy and my own understanding of child development at the same time.”
Obviously, there is a bit of a difference between educating the children and educating the teachers.
While teaching the children can always be fun and pleasant, working with adults can present challenges, since the adults are very keen to get things right. “They put a lot of stress on themselves. So there is a little bit of psychological counseling that goes into the teaching, as well. (You need to tell them): relax, take your time, you will understand when you see more of the materials…”
Being so passionate about Montessori, Rosemary is happy to see that many people are moving forward to bring Montessori to an even greater number of children in China.
"Guess what I would like them to say about me (after I leave) is that I helped them to love their career in Montessori, because I love my career in Montessori. I have never regretted for a moment leaving the high tech industry, even though I was paid less as a teacher. I would like to see everybody who comes to this profession to get the same amount of enjoyment out of it.”
By Qin Chuan


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