First AMI Montessori School in Albania
September, 2009 Update

Susan in the Tirana Mosque

Enjoy pictures of the school any my trip to:

Main page: Albania

Tirana Mosque
Susan Stephenson returned to Albania to help three new teachers begin their careers in a fascinating country. It was during the Islam annual month of Ramadan, and this is a picture of Susan visiting the mosque in Tirana during evening prayers. Exploration of, and respect for, the existing culture is the most important part of bringing Montessori education to a new area.

See the video Susan took inside the mosque during prayers: Ramadan
The cloth sign hanging in front of the mosque invites people to celebrate "Ramazan" which is the Albania word for Ramadan. Albania, or the Republika e Shqipërisë, has a rich and fascinating history. Go to this site for more interesting information on: Albania

2009 staff of the Montessori School of Albania Montessori Infant Community
The first day was spent in a traditional rock restaurant on Mt. Dajti, where the whole staff began to become acquainted.
Nertila Hoxha, the teacher in the Infant Community, worked as an assistant in an AMI IC in London for two years and is now taking the 2-summer course in Denver.
Baric Tablets Napping anytime anywhere
Children watch as a young lady receives a lesson matching the sensorial materials known as "baric tablets." The teacher on the left is Annie Odean, AMI trained in Portland, Oregon.
Since a "casa dei bambini" is a "house of children" and not a school, children can get out a nap mat and rest of sleep any time, anywhere in the environment.
lunch time

The children gather and arrange tables, put out the table cloth and cloth napkins and set the table for lunch. Last year's class was split between the two new primary classes which are quickly growing toward the ideal 30 children to one teacher and one assistant.

Just as any other activity, children are free to painting with watercolor or tempera, anytime during the 3-hour morning work period or the 2+ hour afternoon work period. Without adult direction or interruption.

Washing the floor giving a lesson

Daniella Ortega, Canadian AMI graduate from Toronto, gives a lesson on cleaning up the floor and table, after two children have prepared and enjoyed their snack in the middle of the morning.

At any level, 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, and beyond, the most successful lessons are given from one child to another, not by an adult. The adult models the slow movements, silence, and exact techniques in 1:1 lessons, and then children teach each other in the same way.

matching shells to shell pictures Nene Tereza

Language, like Practical Life, was an element of Montessori that was mostly responsible for the "miracle" in the first Casa dei Bambini in Rome over 100 years ago. And like Practical Life, much of the teachers time is taken up with creating these materials and lessons. Here a child matches shells to drawings of the shells.
(Created many years ago by Susan, see: Michael Olaf Shells).

A statue of Mother Teresa, or "Nene Tereza" in Albanian, stands next to the double-eagle flag of Albania and other traditional artifacts on the "Albania" shelf in the classroom. Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was an Albanian, a Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. She is quite important to the children and the adults, of albania. For more information see this site: Nene Tereza
Susan and Lani

vocabulary cards

Lani Celmeta first heard that Montessori is a system of education for peace on a TV special in Beijing where she has lived since the Communist era of Albania. Determined to help bring this much-needed system to war-ravaged Albania, she was introduced to Susan by Ana Pickering, Executive Officer of the Montessori Association of New Zealand. Ana recommended Susan as a consultant for the first AMI Montessori school in Albania. Susan accepted the challenge because of Lani's goal of meeting the highest AMI standards, and because it has always been the emphasis on preparing children to create a better world that has kept Susan inspired. Since their first meeting in Hangzhou, China, Susan and Lani have met in Beijing, and now twice in Albania.

About half of the children in the school speak English, and many parents enroll their children because it is a place where their children will learn English. But one also hears French, Turkish, Bulgarian, German, Italian, Albanian, and other languages every day. For this reason vocabulary materials are especially important.

The motto of the school is "Go Green" and the the children dust and wash the leaves of classroom plants, learn the names of plants and flowers, and a garden will become available to the children this fall. In this picture a child is reading the English names of animals of the world.

Susan's Bio

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