Montessori School Bali (MSB) began as a preschool 20 years ago, and after expanding across two campuses over the years, finally moved into a one-stop, purpose-built campus in Canggu at the start of 2017.
Plenty has happened since its opening, and plenty is set to come as the school expands towards its planned capacity.
A highlight this year was the inaugural PTA Twilight Christmas Market, which saw the school throw its gates open to the general public for the first time. As the sun set over the school’s park-like grounds, dotted with flickering candles, visitors mingled to shop, meet, eat, drink and be merry. The event exceeded school expectations and we look forward to it happening on next year’s calendar, too.
This year, MSB started a new Adolescent Programme (AP) with a small group of enthusiastic, long-term Montessori students. Multi-age classes are a fundamental element of the Montessori approach to education, so this will grow into a full 12- to 15-year-old class over the next few years.
The AP has had a great start. Students have set up a micro-business called lil lotus coFFee, selling sustainably-grown, locally sourced coffee (and organic chocolate). One channel has been through a pop-up cafe serving an enthusiastic Friday-morning crowd at drop-off time, giving parents a chance to connect and chat. Setting up lil lotus coFFee is all about learning by doing, another fundamental Montessori concept. The students are looking forward to building a permaculture garden on campus in 2019 to really get their hands dirty!
The AP also helped to raise funds and solicit donations for the survivors of the Lombok earthquakes, disasters that saw our school community pull together to pool their resources and help those in need the best way they could. They delivered much-needed supplies requested by survivors directly to them, in partnership with several parents’ businesses.
The school’s Toddler Programme (TP) started last year, and has now reached capacity, with a waitlist. The TP runs four mornings per week and is for children aged around 18 months to three years, when students are guaranteed a place in one of our preschool classrooms. The TP runs in our Lili classroom, which like all MSB classrooms is built specifically for the age group it hosts, and again like all classrooms at MSB, it’s equipped with beautiful Montessori materials.
The Lili classroom set-up changes slightly for Monday mornings for our popular Baby and Me programme, designed for babies aged through to 18 months and their carers. This once-a-week session sees parents and babies introduced to Montessori concepts and allows them to ask questions about child development to Holly White, our highly experienced 0-3 guide. This programme too has just reached capacity.
Our gardens have meanwhile expanded the past year as our two lower primary and our upper primary class have set up their own plots, planting a range of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Students have enjoyed making delicious salads out of the literal fruits of their labours, which have also taught them all about exactly where their food truly comes from — nature, not the supermarket.
Still to come: The school is developing an exciting BMX track on campus for its students, and plans to offer it as an after-school activity. One of our parents, an experienced BMX-er, is leading the design and implementation of this exciting project. His car-park demonstration of various tricks and skills with a friend earlier this year left students impressed and ready to give it a go!
The school is also moving ahead to build natural, sustainable playgrounds for its preschool and primary students. This is an ambitious project that involves sourcing sustainable recycled hardwood and building a variety of creative structures for children to really enjoy their open-ended outdoor play. It’s going to be worth the wait, with nothing else like it currently existing anywhere else in Bali!
A feature of typical Montessori schools is allowing observers to come visit classrooms to see how our method of teaching works. Indeed at MSB, it’s a required part of our enrolment process, as we want parents to see firsthand just how different Montessori classrooms are compared to mainstream schools. If you’d like to come visit, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a WhatsApp message to +62 812 8500 4579 to make an appointment.
Our school is drawing plenty of attention in the Montessori world and we were pleased to show off our campus to 20 Indonesian doctoral students from Yogyakarta last month. We are also hosting a two-day weekend refresher course for Montessori teachers from around the region in April this year.
MSB has been built with a view to expand its enrolments over the next few years. As our student numbers expand to fill the current already-built classrooms, plans for a covered sports area are expected to be implemented, along with eventually the addition of a dedicated library, a multi-purpose room, music room, art studio, technology room and industrial kitchen. Stay tuned for more news as our school grows!
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