Meet our Trainers: Kay Urquhart
Kay began her own AMI 3-6 Diploma in Sydney in 1999 with US trainer, Shannon Helfrich, who has been instrumental in supporting the growth of AMI training within Australia. Kay graduated from this course in 2000 just prior to the start of the Sydney Olympic Games. She joined the AMI Training of Trainers program in 2012 to begin her journey towards becoming an AMI Director of Training.
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
Pamela Nunn who was a 3-6 Trainer at the time approached me and asked if I would consider becoming an AMI Trainer. I initially said no as I was enjoying working in a 3-6 environment and had established wonderful relationships with the children and families. That was my focus at the time.
A year later Pamela asked me again and this time I said yes. I could see that a carefully prepared environment and adult was making a difference in the lives of the families that I had been working with and I wanted to delve deeper into Dr Montessori’s work.
Aside from the 3-6 Diploma and Orientation courses, what other training do you deliver?
Ongoing workshops and refresher courses for graduates are a good way to bring the Montessori teaching community together and look again at certain Montessori pedagogy and practices.
Consultations in schools is also an important role of Trainers.
When not delivering training, what other training work are you involved with?
Many AMI Trainers deliver courses in many different parts of the world, hence there are many committee and board meetings to attend. AMI has regular meetings for Trainers at each level, nowadays via Zoom. Trainers in Australia have many very late nights and early mornings contributing to these meetings. Australian and New Zealand Trainers also meet once a month.
Consultancy with schools and centres is also something to which Trainers commit and I would like to see more of this in the future.
What do you most enjoy about working as a Trainer in Training?
That’s an easy question to answer. Firstly it’s the relationships you build with other Trainers, Trainers in Training, faculty members and students. They never cease to inspire me.
Secondly, discovering something new or seeing something with a different lens after hearing a lecture or rereading a chapter from one of Dr Montessori’s books. She never ceases to inspire me.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in becoming a Trainer?
The time away from my family. A Trainer in Trainer has many theory papers to write and these take time and focus. Many weekends where I should have been out watching my children’s hockey games or soccer games, or just being present to listen to them when they came home from school and had a story to tell, I would be tucked away in my study, head down and deeply researching, thinking, analysing and writing.
One of the requirements is that a Trainer in Training undertake two courses with one Trainer and a third course with a different Trainer. This meant that I had to leave my job and my family and move to America. Whilst the experience was an adventure, it also had its challenges.
What are you most looking forward to in your training work throughout 2021?
I am most excited to deliver my first 3-6 Diploma Course here in Sydney.
What words of advice can you offer anyone considering studying for an AMI 3-6 Diploma?
If you are thinking about taking the Diploma course, just do it. It will open your eyes, heart and mind to the possibilities of a greater world if we just understand and honour the young child. With the knowledge that you take away from the training course you can play a role in this change.