In October, 2014, I was invited to Mongolia to speak to government officials, professors, parents, teachers, all interested in Montessori education mainly because the department of education is being revamped to put children at the center of their programs, instead of an outdated curriculum. Here is a very brief facebook album of some of the things presented at the talk “Montessori, Education for the Future” which was attended by over 500 people. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154684793090392.1073741831.364651355391&type=1&l=fdae86eb7a
Also, I was able to visit schools. Even though I did not see any classes that I would consider true Montessori classed, both because of the lack of fully trained teachers, and government requirements that children be separated by age, i.s. 3-year-olds in one class, 4-year-olds in another class, etc., I found a very open-minded group of teachers and administrators, and government officials who are excited to move toward true Montessori for Mongolian children.
After work in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, I was able to travel far out into the grasslands to research the traditional ways or raising children from birth. The woman in this picture is a high school science teacher. Her husband is a herder and they have decided to raise their two sons in the traditional life of Nomads, moving their ger (yurt in Russian) several times a year to follow the grass for the herds, milking mares and fermenting the milk, following their Tibetan Buddhist religion (see altar in the background) and being close to nature. When the boys are older they will return to a village where the mother will teach.
In the spring of 2015 I was honored to be present to witness the signing of the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Affiliate Organization of Mongolian Teachers. Here you can see the list of AMI Affiliated Societies: http://ami-global.org/societies
Petra, Jordon 2012
After Montessori work in the West Bank our hosts treated us to a dream come true: a visit to one of the 7 wonders of the world: Petra, in Jordan. Arriving at Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses) in Jordon in the evening we hiked the 2-mile downhill path to Petra through a narrow passageway known as a “siq” (“seek”) lit by 1800 luminaria (candles in paper bags). At the bottom, in front of the most famous structure carved out of the stone cliff “the treasury” we were treated to music by the oldest bedouin music. A 1-stringed precursor of all stringed instruments, and an ancient flute which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6rlNmopAlU&feature=related
The walk up, in the dark, was over large uneven flagstones some of which had been washed out by flash floods. Below you can see a picture of a camel driver taking a break and having a cigarette, painted after returning home. Here are more at a facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150843541507813.477986.707497812&type=3&l=b6e11edc6c
2005-2006 TRIPS (from a presentation at the 2007 Montessori centenary in San Francisco) Montessori work in Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan: http://www.michaelolaf.net/ESF1-08part2.pdf
Here is the best “Bhutan hot stone bath” Youtube video I could find (though our bath had no plastic tent over it!). Thank you Clare and Tom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIpmoGlbL9s
1964-2005 TRIPS (from a presentation at the 2007 Montessori centenary in San Francisco) From my first travel, around the world by shipboard in 1964 to Montessori work in Nepal in 2005: http://www.michaelolaf.net/ESF1-08part1.pdf