The morning began with breakfast as usual. Before setting off for community work, Catherine, Hombakazi and Primadonna sent us off with a song. Jess Schulschenk, Director of the Sustainability Institute shared a presentation, A Promise For the Future, giving us an insight to Lynedoch Eco-village. Lynedoch, Eco-Village was established in 1999 with the focus being on setting up a community for farmworkers in the area who were below the minimum income bracket. Three farm schools in the community united at the Sustainability Institute to provide quality education for the children. The school was government run, with poor results from students. Lynedoch then partnered with SPARK Schools which provided a better outcome for the students. The Children’s House started, followed shortly by the Infant Community and Nido. The main focus of Lynedoch Eco-Village are education, exploration and application. Lynedoch has partnered with Indaba Montessori Institute to provide quality training to teachers in a further bid to  provide a holistic environment for the youngest children. At Lynedoch, children always come first. From providing a safe, secure community, where roads are designed to slow down traffic for safety, to quality education, providing a holistic community for all at  Lynedoch. Jess pointed out that by forming partnerships, the ability to partner with the best in the world whilst remaining rooted in Africa becomes possible, with the example of the partnership between IMI and AMI.  Education does  not stop on a primary level at Lynedoch, a youth programme that provides the opportunity for local high school students to come together, many of whom are previous SPARK students. Here these students are supported and inspired to choose positive life paths enabling a better future. In an attempt to approach learning from a different angle, Lynedoch also offers a university programme where Diploma’s, PGD, MPhil and PhD qualifications are available through the partnership with Stellenbosch University. Jess gave insight as to why community work at Lynedoch is so integral. Through community work, everyone becomes connected to one another through work and caring for the community. Jess concluded by giving an explanation of how the wetland works and how solar energy has become part of the housing. At the end of her presentation, the floor was opened to questions and comments from the assembly participants.

After tea, participants broke into their reading groups, sharing discussions on their readings. Lunch followed and lead into the second part of the day.

The afternoon session began with a presentation from Lois Nashepai Metuo, an educator in the Kajiabo County in Kenya. Loise’s presentation: Educating Girls in Kenya brought to light the challenges facing girls in Kenya in relation to receiving education. Loise began working at Senior Chief Mutunke Primary School, a rural government run school. The school building was an unstable structure that had 3 toilets that were shared between 91 children, 10 teachers and 3 additional workers at the school. After six months, the building collapsed leaving 91 children without a structure. Loise’s first priority was the safety of the children, as well as being concerned about them being prone to infection and disease. Parents in the community were earning between $10 and $ 50 per month and when approached for fees, would often remove their children from the school. Through fund raising and donations, Loise acquired timber, iron sheeting and stones to rebuild the school. Out of several proposals that she sent out, only 2 received a response. This did not deter her from her goals for her community. Noticing that girls would have regular absenteeism a month, Loise found out that when the girls were menstruating they were staying at home.  Effectively missing an average of 40 school days per year. Government provided the school with sanitary pads, however they fell short on delivery. Again, Loise approached her friends and organized delivery of sanitary pads in six month intervals for the girls. The positive ripple effects of having these items provided was that when government finally did deliver sanitary pads, they could be sent home to be provided to the mothers who also cannot afford to buy the products for themselves. Currently the campus consists of 5 classrooms and an admin block with extra toilets provided. Catherine concluded by saying that when you decide to fight, you fight for all. When you win, everyone wins. When you lose, everyone loses. 

Erica Burger, from Jabulani: Rural Health Foundation did a presentation on the work that Jabulani has been doing. All Jabulani programmes support Montessori principles and are all interlinked to serve the community. In the Zithulele village, Jabulani has created the following initiatives: General hospital support which hosts an ARV and TB programme, making chronic medication more accessible. Community based inclusive development which includes home visits where families are trained to work with cerebral palsy people and children with special needs. The livelihood supports people with disability, enabling these people to provide for their families by teaching them skills that can result in job creation or employment. ECD in the home, assists parents by enabling them to be involved with practical life activities through home visits. Montessori training in ECD centres ensures quality, holistic education for the community. The Jump Start initiative provides developmental skills for men who couldn’t complete their schooling, with mentor-ship provided by older men who teach skills and offer support. Erica concluded with the statement, ‘attitudes are contagious, is your attitude worth catching?’

Uma Ramani and Helen Moran Elias did a follow up presentation on the EsF Hyderabad initiative. The Aanganwadi’s through training and support are able to provide community childcare centres that provide health, nutrition and education for children, pregnant and lactating mothers which has far reaching positives for the Aaganwadi community. Trainers undergo 6 weeks of training where they are trained to set up a prepared environment, be prepared adults and to understand how to execute hygiene. Technical preparation in setting up different areas in the environment was also given. The huge success of the Aanganwadi's has resulted in 300,000 children receiving holistic education in their region. Uma urged South African’s to stand united, to work together for the sake of community.

Designer of Educational Spaces, Benjamin Stahli from Switzerland ended the presentations for the day on Montessori Architecture Patterns. Benjamin spoke of the idea Arthur Waser’s notion of a blueprint for Montessori buildings. Upon observing Montessori institutes globally, Benjamin noticed that although each building appeared to have nothing in common, he began to notice patterns between each building. One of these patterns were that the majority of the main entrances were east facing. This allowed children entering the school in the morning with a school bathed in sunlight, giving off positive energy. Benjamin pointed out that to create an environment, it needs to cover all 4 planes of development, he looked at examples from at least 3 different continents. Benjamin  broke down 28 patterns of Montessori architecture patterns in Montessori architecture. Benjamin concluded that these patterns are a work in progress.

The day concluded with insights and questions from the morning’s readings following which participants were treated to a movie, ‘The God’s Must Be Crazy’ a much loved South African production, followed by dinner.