The beauty and pain of reality

We haven’t reported on the news for a while, here I have collected a reflection of everything that happened during two weeks
Have you ever heard the expression “life is like a zebra”?In the last two weeks, I felt it at maximum contrasts.

Things that we (by “we” I mean Montessori teachers of Ukraine) have dreamed about for years, if not decades, have become a reality.

On Monday, two weeks ago, the focus group of Montessori Ukraine met with the executive director of AMI, Lynne Lawrence. The chief of staff of AMI and the curator of the fund, that supports Ukraine were also present at the meeting. We talked about today’s challenges and how our team responds to them. Ways of future cooperation were also discussed. They agreed on the possibility of studying for Ukrainian students at AMI courses under special conditions. This meeting was full of sincerity, ideas and support.

Everyone was shocked that it was happening, but it was only the beginning.

Visiting and being able to present our team at the Montessori Europe congress, thanks to Barbara Isaac and Tammy Osting. Europe knows about us, supports us and we are preparing many joint projects with colleagues from all over the world.

One of the big achievements was the approval of a 50% discount on materials from Nienhuis for all Ukrainian schools and teachers located in Ukraine!

Some of the coolest moments were personal meetings with incredible people you already know in person: Inga Sieminski, Alexander Henny, Barbara Isaac, Judith Cunningham, Simone Davies, Prudence Daniels, and of course, Lynne Lawrence. So much warmth and light come from everyone.
I am very grateful and send warmth to each and every one of them.

Lynne is a woman of incredible openness and warmth, who treats Ukraine with great trepidation. It was very inspiring. I hope one day to conduct a tour of Ukrainian Montessori schools for Lynne. I believe that we have something to show!

And I also managed to visit the museum, aka the head office of AMI, where Maria Montessori herself worked many years ago. I will talk about this separately.

It is interesting that on the day when we released the Peace for Ukraine Movie, our Azovstal defenders were released from captivity. On the day I met Lynne Lawrence, the Crimean bridge started to meld down. What a beauty!

The morning of the next day: the bombing of my city. I need to write to everyone, find out if they are safe, urgently send to Montessori UA communication channels advice on what to do with the children in the basements, moral support, an explanation of the situation, making them laugh and distract
Trying to breathe…

Tuesday – we receive the final answer and permission to show the theory from AMI coach Maria Roth for all interested Ukrainians. The urgent start of the advertising campaign (that’s what I call it, advertising without a penny, all made by hand)… a quick assembly of a team of ninja fairies who help from all sides, thinking through all the details, in parallel agreeing on every step with AMІ.
We feel the responsibility to make it good. Creating a harmony of freedom and rules for adults: this is a real challenge! But in a few days, on Sunday, the course starts, numbering 500 teachers from Ukraine, who have gathered to learn from the experience of the amazing Frau Roth.

With children in their arms, in parks, on buses, at work – wherever…people were listening to the course, carefully catching every word.

Tears of joy at the end of the class when Frau Roth visited us live. Incredible happiness and a sense of belonging to tectonic shifts in Ukrainian Montessori education.

A sense of excitement and a desire to live in this future as soon as possible. The future, where there are books in Ukrainian, where there are coaching programs in Ukraine, where state kindergartens work according to the Montessori method, and parents know that it is effective and actively use it.
Reflection with the team – how did we manage all this?

Tears of fatigue.

Morning. Shelling of my city. Write to everyone, check if everyone is okay. Prepare a post for people, which will help them to switch a little. Powerlessness from the impossibility of stopping it all immediately.

Letter of support from colleagues. A letter with the story of listening to our podcast for Public Montessori in action. Letters from friends. Letters of support.

I’m breathing.

Maria Roth said yesterday – No matter what happens – don’t give up. Do what you can under any circumstances.

And so we try, Frau Roth. We are still breathing, breathing…

Anna Volokhova
Anna Volokhova

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