How could I have known, that 7 years later I would be standing on the Red Square in Moscow?
We met the first day of our Assistant to Infancy Montessori training in San Diego.
Then again, in Amsterdam, not knowing the other one would be attending the Annual General Meeting of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
She was pregnant with her second child, searching for a better alternative to giving birth, than what was being offered in her hometown. I gladly introduced her to the natural and respectful birthing community San Diego is known for.
Friendships are amazing, you never know what they are made of or where they will take you. Montessori, motherhood and now Moscow…
Irina Isaeva, recently invited me to participate in the Montessori Spring Conference, in Moscow organized by Oksana Ivanova and Nadezhda Smirnova from the Interregional Montessori Association.
My talk “Guiding Parents the Montessori Way” was well received to a room full of eager participants. I shared why I started Voila Montessori and how I serve the families I work with. The audience was eager to know more about how I use Positive Discipline principles to compliment Montessori’s notion of freedom within limits.
What I came to realize from this opportunity is even thou we are all from different cultures, speak different languages, we all strive to serve the child’s immense potential.
Like the child, the guide is universal.
After my presentation not understanding the language to be able to attend any of the other talks I decided to venture out on my own. I took the subway to a station that had been suggested.
And there I was standing at the entrance of the Red Square, in total disbelief that I was actually there.
The next day we took the topic of freedom within limits to a deeper level. Spending the day at the Fly High Kids Academy with a lovely group of educators. Being simultaneously translated by Irina made it so much easier to share our universal similarities and aspirations.
I shared the Positive Discipline tactics, I had learned from Jane Nelsen that I attribute to saving both my teaching and parenting at the time.
What was fascinating during this day of training, was the fact that even if the guides in Moscow have had a very different upbringing and culture experience than mine, we both know in our hearts that there has got to be a better way then punishment, rewards, or coaxing.
There is a universal understanding that our children deserve better, an inner knowing, a willingness to learn how to improve ourselves for the sake of humanity. Understanding that our most important work is not only the lessons we show the children but the inner work we do on ourselves. What Dr. Montessori so eloquently named the ‘spiritual preparation of the adult’.
“We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practiced to perfection only when working with children.” – M. Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
The next morning was spent observing 3 guides and 11 children in a toddler environment at the Smilie Club School
Then touring the school which serves caregivers and their babies all the way thru upper elementary. The school was comprised of three different buildings all within walking distance of each other in an urban setting.
Here again, the universal child revealed himself, a different country, culture, language yet the same needs for exploration, independence, communication, and movement.
What a delight Montessori is, for no matter where you go you will always feel at home. Everything is pretty much the same with the exception of the practical life activities, sensitive to the local culture. As I travel I always enjoy discovering new ones, ones I would have never thought of myself.
Later that day we got to do a bit of sight-seeing before attending the screening of Costa Fam’s three powerful emotionally packed short films, ‘Shoes’, ‘Brutus’ and ‘Violin’. Followed by a question and answer session with the director himself.
The following day, the last one before leaving was spent exploring the city, finding wonderful Montessori material and taking in the highlights of the city.
I am so deeply grateful for this friendship based on Montessori, motherhood and spreading love and tolerance around the globe.
To see a bit more of this lovely trip, click on the link below:
P.S. Are you looking for an inspiring and solution based speaker for your school or parent community? Find out how I can help here.