Montessori Education In Africa and Asia

Montessori Education in Africa

Africa, massive in size with a plethora of cultures, languages, landscapes and history is a continent with uneven education systems. Montessori education has adapted throughout the continent to aid in providing education to communities, both urban and rural. For example, Ms. Deborah McCracken founded the Olive Branch for Children in Tanzania to help provide education to orphans in the Mbeya region. The majority of the orphans are such because they were born to AIDS victims and many were born infected. The school not only provides a Montessori education, but also aids in community development and provides medical care to the children and local residents. McCracken does not just provide courses for children. She has also integrated programs for the community utilizing Montessori Methodology and informal education to better develop self-sustaining projects within the region.

Further south in Zimbabwe Karen Madsen-Barton started the Nhimbe Maaya Preschool for children aged 3 to 6 years old with a similar concept. Not only is education provided for children, there is a large emphasis for sustainable development within the community. Interestingly, in the Nhimbe Magaya Preschool there is a greater emphasis on the use of Shona music, indigenous to this area of Africa. Madsen-Barton has used this music as an inspiration for the environment set up for children and uses the local music as a tool for education wherever possible.

Montessori Education in Asia

Asia is another vast continent rich in culture, topography, languages and history. Montessori schools have spread across Asia creating heart-warming tales of success in war torn communities of Afghanistan, the poor communities of India, the refugees of Burma.

Afghanistan has become a poster child for war and conflict over the past decade, but as a result of conflict, many small and effective projects have been funded to benefit the locals, especially on the education front. The House of Flowers was build in 2002 by MEPO (The Medical, Educational and Peace Organization) a small non-profit organization. This Montessori school and orphanage serves children aged 6 to 13 years of age and has blossomed a number of success stories in child development. The co-founders are now planning to expand their vision into larger orphanages in Kabul where children are in dire need of a nurturing environment that can positively influence their academic, social, behavioral and psychological achievements.

In the country of Bhutan, the Montessori Method seems to be effective in its most pure form as the country not only has a GNP, but also a GHP, or Gross National Happiness monitor. In an education system that focuses more on social interaction, fairness and justice, it only seems natural that the Montessori school would be extremely successful- and that it has been. Even in the most competitive of societies such as Japan, Montessori education has been very successful.

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