Yes, Montessori isn’t about fantasy corners and dress-up but we are all about creativity and storytelling! The wonderful, warm and inspirational Michael Dorer spent two days talking us through his book: “The Deep Well of Time”. The teachers are now telling stories to the primary children – about the “Rebellious Pronoun” and “Archimedes and the Hollow Sphere”. The 6 to 12 year old is ALL about the imagination – how special to learn to use this to teach basic concepts of parts of speech and maths, among many!
Pre-school children also love to hear stories – theirs are geared at personal stories – true stories about the world and themselves. Be warned – they like to hear them over and over… and over again!
The following two days saw many new faces, as the conference started in earnest. We were invited to many different workshops and lectures. The overall messages for me became clear as I thought back on the two days on the plane home! Previous conferences have mostly been aimed at preschool topics – with the odd primary inspired talk. This year, I, as a primary Directress, got so much from many workshops. This is speaking to how Montessori Primary is growing in South Africa. Meeting so many other primary teachers and Principals of primary schools was heartwarming and so comforting – we are all walking the same path. We are just at different stages. The willingness to share, support and learn from one another was profound and deeply humbling.
The lectures I went to about Montessori High Schools were also inspiring. If Hout Bay Montessori is ever in a position to seriously explore this option, there is a wealth of expertise to turn to. Montessorians around South Africa are doing extraordinary things and the commitment to collaboration was clear! There is certainly talk of Montessori Primary Schools working together to develop a central high school – watch this space!