With the launch of its biannual Twilight Market, a filled-to-capacity Toddler Programme and the successful debut of its Adolescent Programme, Montessori School Bali (MSB) has had a busy and exciting academic year.
The school broke ground on new playgrounds for its preschool and primary classrooms this year, as well as a BMX/MBT track, all expected to be ready by Term One, 2019-2020. The MSB school year runs from August to June, and is still accepting enrolments for some age groups for the start of next year.
“This past year has seen the school expand in ways that serve all our students well and usher in an era of smart growth for the school,” says principal Jan Gaffney.
The Toddler Programme, a four-morning programme following pure Montessori principles in a classroom that is purpose-built for 18-month- to three-year-olds, now has a waiting list due to its popularity. The school is tentatively planning a one-afternoon per week accompanied programme to help deal with demand, Jan says.
The preschool intake for children turning three before October 2019 is also now full. Montessori School Bali began 21 years ago with a single preschool class, and has now grown to include dedicated programmes for babies right through to adolescents. From preschool, Montessori classes have multi-age groups, aged around three to six, six to nine, nine to 12 and 12 to 15 years.
The Adolescent Programme (AP) began this academic year and its size will double with a second cohort beginning in August. This year’s founding students have forged a thrilling start to the programme, following an authentic Montessori trajectory as they established their own micro-business, lil lotus coFFee. Setting up such a small business is a hallmark of Montessori adolescent programmes globally, where students learn through real-world, hands-on action along with academic subjects.
The AP students also built the start of their permaculture garden, which will expand as more students join next academic year.
The class worked with partners such as sure.co (su-re.co/), a young environmental “think-do-be tank” based in Bali that is focused on sustainability and farming within the context of climate change. Future Farmers Indonesia (www.futurefarmersindonesia.com/) have also worked with the students on their permaculture garden.
Marian Carroll has two boys at the school, one in upper primary and one in the AP. “It’s so rewarding when your pre-teen comes home and you ask how was school, and he says, ‘Awesome, as usual.’ They are so engaged using real world experiences outside the classroom to learn, they don’t realise they are even learning!” she says. A Montessori education, she believes, is a more relevant education than a mainstream one in today’s fast-changing world. “They learn resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving by dealing with real issues and applying what they learn inside the classroom.”
Another highlight of the past year was the launch of the Montessori Twilight Market onto Bali’s event calendar. The first market was such a success that a second one was held in May. “The Twilight Markets really brought together the school with our broader community,” says James White, the 2018-19 secretary of the Parent Teacher Association, which organises the evenings. “It was fantastic to open up the school to the public for such a big event so they could get a glimpse of what our school is like.”
The next market will be on Friday, November 29 and, just like the others, feature dozens of local vendors, children’s activities, delicious food and snacks, a bar and lots more.
Also during the year, the school hosted a refresher course for more than 50 Montessori professionals from around the region and hosted many other observers interested in seeing how an authentic Montessori school works.
“We are lucky to be able to implement genuine Montessori principles right across all age groups,” says principal Jan. “We are excited to show educators just how this works in practice, and hope to set a benchmark for Montessori education in the region.”
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