Today began with two 6am options for early starters - yoga or a nature walk.  The formal EsF session began at 9am, with two Indian participants singing.  Lynne Lawrence welcomed everyone and outlined the programme for the day.  The first presentation, entitled ‘Montessori in India: The Movement and the People’ was given by AMI Director of Training, Uma Ramani.  Uma traced the development of education in India from pre-colonial days through the changes that occurred under British rule.  She noted the influence of three key figures on educational policy: Gijubhai Badheka, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi.  Montessori’s work in India could then be seen in its historic and political context.  Uma described how Montessori first came to Adyar in 1939 at the invitation of the Theosophical Society.  She expected to stay six months, but was there for six years.  Her first course anticipated 50 students and drew 300.  Uma also spoke about the involvement of Mario Montessori and Albert Joosten in promoting the movement in India.  She finished by quoting some current statistics that showed there was much more work to be done.

Kalpana Vishwas then gave a very touching presentation that told the story of the inspirational contribution of Khursheed (Miss K. E.) Taraporewallas.  Kursheed was a physically weak child who did not walk until the age of four, but then worked hard all her life and walked until the age of 93.  She attended one of Montessori’s Indian training courses and formed a warm relationship with ‘Mammolina’.  Kursheed worked abroad to save enough money to set up her own Montessori school, which was founded in 1953.  Kalpana is Khursheed’s daughter-in-law and fondly recalled stories of how Kursheed patiently nurtured each child’s potential.  Her presentation finished with a slide show of historic photographs.

Lynne then gave a presentation on the Key Components of the EsF Assembly: Deepen Understanding, Preparation and Applicable Practice.  At the end of the Assembly, the goal was to capture the proceedings and gather the stories of participants.  In addition, Lynne hoped that two documents could be created as support for the field: one to identify the core values and essential Montessori principles required for EsF work; the other to describe the preparation needed to become an Educateur.  Mary Caroline Parker would lead a working group to address the first document.  Jacquie Maughan would lead a working group to address the second.  Victoria Barrès would work with a small group to investigate capturing stories.  An excerpt of a film featuring Andy Goodman speaking on Storytelling best practice was shown. 

After lunch, Vidya Shankar from the Relief Foundation in Chennai, gave a presentation on ‘Building Montessori Families’.  Vidya spoke about the journey she had taken she develop a resource centre for families.  This involved setting up a repository of Montessori resources, orienting staff and families, and developing a training and succession plan.  Both a rural and an urban model were presented and Vidya showed some film of parents speaking about their centres.  Participants then met in their reading groups before reporting back the Pearls of the Day.  An optional meeting was held for participants interested in advancing the Indian Montessori movement.  Children from the Pragnya Montessori School in Hyderabad treated participants to a special evening of traditional Indian dance performances, including dinner, to finish the day.