Wednesday, 15 August 2018
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
Eric Gumah, an AMI elementary trained teacher from Ghana spoke about how Montessori has been implemented in Gumyoko School in Ghana. Eric’s grandfather and father made land available for the school. His father wanted to provide a place that would give quality education free of charge. In order for this to be achieved, they involved the government. The school has 60 children in the class, as required by government. There are now 975 children in the school, 73 of which are in the 6-12 class, with two teachers. Eric began visiting other schools and helped teachers to have a better approach to learning, holding regular workshops with teachers. Eric is inspired by Corner of Hope and has a vision of making Montessori accessible for everyone. Eric’s plans to build a bigger school to accommodate more children and plans to have this vision completed in the near future.
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
Sophia and Eva from Young Peoples Community in Brighton U.K. showed us what their community looks like. They spoke of their work, which ranges from academic to practical and community. Although some text books are used, students are encouraged to read about subjects that interest them and then are given the opportunity to see an expert in that field. They finished by presenting what they have learnt to the rest of the class.
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
The Coffee Bay team, Jennifer Moore, Dawn Brochenin, Xoliswa Bala and Nomonde Majongozi shared their story of how Montessori has expanded in the Eastern Cape. Dawn started Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori in 2010. The school’s modest beginnings took place in a small rondavel. Soon, word about the beautiful school and the happy children began to spread and a long waiting list appeared. Dawn undertook it to raise the money needed to expand the school, her efforts bringing in R900 000. A bigger school was built to accommodate more children. Jennifer trained seven local women who graduated in 2015. Dawn decided to take a sabbatical and moved to Hole in The Wall. There she was approached by families who asked her to start a school just like Ikhaya Labantwana. Ncinci One’s Montessori school was born in a rondavel in 2016. Soon the space had outgrown the children and more fundraising was needed to build a bigger premises. The school now accommodates 30 rural children who are provided with a holistic education. Xoliswa began teaching at Auburn House Montessori 25 years ago. She assists in helping to deliver training and discussions in her mother tongue, isiXhosa, partnering with Jennifer. She has discussions with parents, childminders and teachers in order to impart knowledge on how to better understand the young child. She believes in getting the message to parents that the home environment should be no different from the Montessori school environment. Nomonde was introduced to Montessori by her good friend Dawn, who then invited Nomonde to come and observe the school. Nomonde was surprised by the beautifully prepared environment and the happy children. She got on board with Dawn and together built up the school. Nomonde helps to build trust as she knows the parents in the community well and whilst she gives instruction in her mother tongue, isiXhosa, Dawn speaks in her mother tongue, English. Nomonde believes that Montessori is wherever you are and a beautiful environment can be created anywhere.
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
The afternoon session began with a presentation on Serving Children In Kenya. Beth Kosgei, a tutor from St Ann’s Montessori Training Centre in Nakuru, Kenya began her training at St Ann’s in 2006. The courses at St Ann’s have been running since 1974. Upon graduation, each teacher is equipped with a complete set of material, which is made during training. After a year of training, support is given in a series of school workshops for a year to support and mentor new teachers. In order for Beth and other mentors to travel to some schools, the mode of transport can range between bus, motorcycle or even on foot. In the rainy season, some have to undertake a 5 km walk in order to reach the schools. When she began working with Corner of Hope, the camp consisted mainly of tents. Beth began by visiting the teachers in the camps and tutoring them. Morning sessions would consist of lectures and discussions with the afternoons being dedicated to making materials. Two hundred students started on the same day with two teachers in the environment. Now there are two schools in Pipeline and one in Kisima. Elementary training is now available and the first elementary class is now in operation in Kenya. In another cause for celebration, the government is now in the process of recognising the diploma nationally. Terry Koskei spoke about the work that she is doing with the nomadic Samburu people. Terry began teaching at Corner of Hope and was offered the opportunity to join the Samburu initiative. Terry gained the trust of the Maa community by offering Montessori whilst respecting the culture of the Maa. The region that she covers is wide spread and she is mindful of always maintaining equality to each of the tribes in order to disperse any unrest. Some of her challenges are transport and infrastructure as there are no roads in these regions. Children of different ages who have never been to school need to be integrated. Terry says that whilst the wildlife, such as elephants and giraffe are very beautiful, their close proximity to the community can cause the children to be frightened of these dangerous animals, resulting on them staying away from school and having interrupted sleep due to the elephants shaking trees close to tents. Working with Nomadic people means that they often move on. Terry and her team bring backpacks filled with Montessori materials and then set off on foot to work with the children. The community have been on board with helping to make material. Vocabulary is presented in Swahili, English and Maa. Terry is pleased that Montessori has been embraced in the areas, with four teachers on the ground and six remaining at the base village. Terry ended her presentation by giving thanks to everyone who has helped her on her journey.
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
The first presentation for the day The Promise: The Power of the Early Years, was presented by Linda Biersteker, Early Childhood Policy and Programming specialist. Linda opened the floor to get the participants views on the following statement, “The image of the child that dominates media, science and policy today is not valued for what he or she “is” but on what he or she can “become” as part of a broader, global, economic agenda.” The second part of the question was how this image shapes the way that society provides for early childcare and education. Linda gave a reality check that each year seven million children worldwide do not survive to see their fifth birthday. Linda brought up the need to understand major risks and pathways for ECD outcome. The child’s psychological developmental outcome is based on sensory-motor, social and emotional, cognitive, language and health development all being interlinked. The access and quality realities need to be looked at as well. Challenges are the divide between rural and urban communities, children under two being the age group that has the least access to early stimulation, the large private provision and the growing number of compulsory grade zero classes that are not always free of charge. The poor ECD services in impoverished areas was paralleled to the lack of quality and delivery in more advantaged areas as well, bringing to light the poor quality of ECD delivery nationally. Linda raised a point of reflection, asking the participants to reflect on whether there were access and quality issues in the context of where one was situated. She noted that traditionally, children learnt through participation, observing then practising, play, routine and work. In some communities, play is not seen as a separate activity and as a result, play is often constructed around gender roles.
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Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Professor Shadrick Mazaza gave the first presentation for the day on Transformation and Authenticity: Unlocking the Human Potential. In 2013, Prof. Shadrick came across an article titled Agenda 2063. The aim was to harmonise the development and integration of the African continent. Some of the challenges ahead are the large diversity of tribes, groups and cultures among the continent. To find ways to unite Africa whilst embracing everyone’s differences, Shadrick founded the African consciousness Institute, with the focus on transformation. He spoke of the three types of transformation that each African needs to undertake in order to bring about unity and change: personal transformation, inter-personal transformation and socio-economic transformation. In order for the last type of transformation to take place, the first two need to be achieved. The Professor urged the importance of raising awareness of Agenda 2063 to open up discussions on what each person can do to contribute to the vision. In order to achieve transformation, he said three things need to happen, Africans need to wake up, show up and speak up. He gave further tools that entailed knowing yourself in depth, through careful self-observation, one can really see who they are instead of who one thinks they are. The next step would be to know about the laws of nature and how these natural laws can help us. Professor Shadrick gave the equation, the level of knowledge plus the level of being equals the level of understanding. One needs to acquire knowledge if one wants to raise to a higher level of wisdom. Mazaza explained that to understand the human, one needs to understand their own set of values which is unique to every person, bearing in mind that our values dictate what we see and how we react to situations.
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Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Jess Schulschenk, Director of the Sustainability Institute shared a presentation, A Promise For the Future. 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. The Sustainability Institute 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.
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Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Loise’s presentation 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 fundraising 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 once 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.
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