Early Years & Montessori
Position: Early Years Lecturer
“When I returned to education in 2000 to study Montessori Teaching, I knew I had found my life’s passion. I am passionate about my job and I want to instil in others what has been given to me.”
I began working in early education in 1994, and to be honest, did not know what I was taking on, but the times of work fitted with my family! Little did I know that I would find my life’s passion. I was fascinated by these young people and the fact that the sector was unregulated and basically providers could do what they liked. I began to read on the subject and improve my practice and returned to education in 2000 to study the Montessori Method. Since then, I have not stopped learning, through study, through working with children and families, through my role as a manager/lead practitioner in rural, urban, affluent, and disadvantaged areas. My experiences provide me with vast industry insight as I have experienced vast changes within our sector, frameworks, legislative and other. In a setting, each year brings a different group dynamic, therefore it is essential to have the ability reflect upon and amend provision and practice to meet the needs of children, families, and staff. I hope that by bringing my practical experiences in the setting into my tutorials allows students to link theory and practice.
In 2004, I became a tutor at Portobello Institute on a part-time basis. Currently I work fulltime for the Institute supporting full-time QQI Level 6 students in Child Development, Early Childhood Curriculum, Social, Legal and Health Studies and Personal and Professional Development. I am part of a vital, vibrant team who support Level 7 Early Childhood Studies Degree students studying through a blended approach. I lead modules such as Children’s Rights in Today’s World, Enquiry Based Learning and Communicating in Multilingual Contexts.
Jacinta’s Teaching Philosophy
My approach is that all students have something to give and to learn, true learning is a two-way process, I love to see students discussing their life experiences to make sense of theory. Many of the students are experienced practitioners and their practical knowledge should be valued. Just as no two children learn the same, similar could be said of adults, people learn in different ways and therefore I try to use a variety of approaches to suit the needs of the group in question. I also understand the pressure of completing study with work, families, and other commitments, as I have been there, and can offer some practical tips.
My greatest achievements as a tutor are to see students who are returning to education with little confidence in themselves and their ability, blossom and grow both as students and practitioners.
Key valuable graduate attributes are, of course, knowledge required to be an early year’s practitioner and the ability to apply that knowledge in their setting. However, there are other equally vital tools, such as compassion, to be able to look at situations from various perspectives to gain understanding and allow for appropriate planning. The ability to reach, support and work with all children, families, and staff in the setting is fundamental to quality provision. Building respectful, reciprocal relationships is essential to providing quality experiences which benefit children’s learning and development. I hope to instil the ability to reflect critically, without criticizing, to examine attributes, bias, and areas for improvement and to plan accordingly.
- BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
- Teacher providing July Provision, a home-based programme for children with complex needs.
- Assisted the set up a Homework Club, Mother and Toddler Group and Woman’s Group in a disadvantaged area through government funding. This group won a Millennium Award for their efforts, it was a proud day to receive this award in Dublin Castle with 2 others.
- HETAC Montessori Course Liaison
- Child Protection Course facilitator