The National Montessori Elementary training course concluded with Module 8 in April 2017. The module focused entirely on reviews, written and oral exams, albums and handmade materials assessment, closing administration, follow-up mentorship programme planning and the graduation ceremony.

The elementary exams are very intensive and we had to arrange for a larger team to be present to ensure that everything was running smoothly and according to AMI exam procedures and standards.

  • Jean Miller - Director of Training, USA
  • Eileen Spalla - Trainer, USA
  • Poinsy Pino - Lecturer, UK
  • Eric Gumah - Lecturer, Ghana
  • Laura Roark - External Examiner, Mexico/USA

The course started with 30 students - 10 from Tanzania and 20 from Kenya - and only 3 students had dropped out due to health and personal reasons. 27 students sat for the exams and everyone did well. It was was proud moment for the trainers to announce a 100% pass result for this pilot course - the first in East Africa!

Many students were pleasantly surprised by the oral exams being so unlike what they had ever experienced before. They enjoyed the experience of discussing what they know in an encouraging and non-threatening space and were grateful for the support provided by the trainers before, during and after the sessions.

The training faculty was amazed by the quality of work that the students put in to the albums and handmade materials including the charts and timelines.

The graduation day dawned bright and clear. Three marquees were setup in the gardens of the St Ann’s Montessori Teacher Training College: one for the graduating students, one for their guests and one for the head table in the centre for the training team and other dignitaries. With the students inviting all their friends and family, over 200 guests were expected.

The graduation ceremony was an explosion of song, dance and colour that started with the planting of two Moringa trees in the garden; Director of Training, Jean Miller planted one tree on behalf of the students and Guest of Honour, CDN Education Secretary, Ms Francesca Kipsoi planted the other. Everyone moved up to the marquees as the students walked up singing songs from their tribes. After offering gifts to the training team at the head table, they settled down for the opening prayer followed by speeches by Kenyan and Tanzanian student representatives, Guest of Honour Ms Kipsoi, Director of Training Jean, External Examiner Laura and Lynne.

The official awarding of the Diplomas was accompanied by lots of cheering as the students came up one after another to collect their graduation packs. They returned to stand in a semicircle to read the Montessori Commitment Prayer. The ceremony ended with the closing prayer by Sr Denise Mattle, principal of the Montessori Teacher Training College of Mwanza, Tanzania, who had driven all of the previous day to attend the graduation on behalf of the Tanzanian students.

Every graduating group finds a name for itself to represent their journey and the focus of their work. This first groups of Montessori elementary graduates in East Africa decided to call themselves the Pathfinders as they take on the task of finding the path for Montessori elementary in their countries.

A huge congratulations to our Pathfinders. We are so proud and wish them all the best as they continue onto the next phase of their Montessori journeys.