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Garden of Flowers Montessori Preschool

Garden of Flowers Montessori Preschool


Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

Written by: Allison Lide, Education Coordinator

House of Flowers 2002-2020

The House of Flowers (HoF) originated in 2002 with the idea of a home and school based on Montessori principles for orphaned children. We shared this idea with our Afghan partner NGO. They helped us locate and rent a suitable house in Kabul. This NGO partner also helped us find staff - young educated people in their 20’s who had grown up as refugees in Pakistan. We prepared the house to meet the physical needs of 30 children aged 4 to teens by acquiring things like carpets, curtains, and kitchen supplies, and building bunk beds, shelves, etc. This process was guided by one of the co-founders who had AMI 6-12 certification.

Numerous children spent much of their childhoods in the House of Flowers, arriving as orphans, whose orphan status put them at a great disadvantage in the society. However, soon enough, the long-term positive outcomes of the Montessori environment became clear; the majority of the children went on to higher education or work, establishing themselves as positive and constructive members of Afghan society. They became nurses, mechanics, IT specialists, electricians, and much more.

The House of Flowers operated as a Montessori orphanage for 18 years. However, because of COVID-19, the Afghan government required all institutions to close. The House of Flowers had to shut its doors in June of 2020.

This felt like a set-back at first, but we decided that it was simply a shift. After having seen the significantly positive outcomes in the children who grew up in the House of Flowers, we were completely committed to continuing to offer Montessori education. We decided to pivot to a day school model instead of an orphanage and to focus on the preschool age, the First Plane children who are largely underserved in Kabul.

Garden of Flowers 2020-Present

We were committed to offering a rich Montessori environment to the young children of families in need. This meant it would be free, it would be all day long, and it would offer healthy snacks and substantial lunches to the children. It would benefit not only the children, but also their families.

When it was time to shift to the Garden of Flowers (GoF) Montessori Preschool in 2020, the process was similar: First, the team found an appropriate house for a kindergarten and acquired the appropriate official status for it. Next, the staff needed further training to reorient them to the characteristics, needs, and work of 3¬–6-year-olds in preparation for a Montessori preschool. They focused on the characteristics and needs of First Plane children and how to guide a First Plane community. The team acquired relevant practical life supplies, repaired their old Montessori materials and received donations of new materials. Once the preschool was ready, the staff invited the low-income families in the neighborhood to send their young children to the prescool.

Not surprisingly, the results were dramatic and transformative for the children, for their families, and for the adults of the GoF team.  Since its initiation, the programme has become stronger and stronger as the adults have gained more and more skill and deeper understanding of the Montessori approach. They are extremely passionate about Montessori, having seen over and over how the children benefit from the freedom, independence, respect, and work with the hands that are cultivated in the Montessori environment.  

Today, the Montessori team is supported by weekly WhatsApp video meetings to discuss Montessori principles, the children, the lessons, and the day-to-day local challenges, and to share and problem-solve together.

For more information, visit their website:

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