Renata Špalková, Táňa Kadlecová and Helena Matoušková – participated in the course with the support of the Montessori Institute of Prague within the framework of the project Montessori Adolescent Programme Inspiration (MAPI), supported by the Erasmus + program. This program is funded by the European Union.
October came and with it – a return to Sweden. There was a lot of tension inside of me and I was full of expectations of how everyone applied the knowledge from the course that we experienced in the summer on a farm in Sweden.
My heart was aching until I saw the first familiar face. Then I started to tremble all over my body, but once we started talking, all fear subsided and I suddenly felt safe because I was aware that I actually knew the people around me and that they were no strangers to me. I felt a sudden relief and joy at seeing everyone, and I saw on others that they were happy to be here.
The first lecture introduced us to what we would be presenting, what we had succeeded and failed in during the first two months of building a program for adolescents. What obstacles we had to overcome and what we expect and want to do next. As I was listening to everyone, many things that we talked about on the farm in the summer suddenly started to fall into place. Suddenly, I saw more clearly the vision of the farm, and how only in an environment that is not a school the child finds a different world, different environment, freedom, independence of the adult, and starts being self-reliant.
In small groups, we presented how in the last two months we had used the knowledge gained at the summer course, what short-term goals we had already achieved and what long-term ones were yet ahead of us. Little by little, we’re getting started with something new that we believe in. Little by little, we want our adolescents to gain the right understanding of the world around us, to become independent, free adults, and mainly, to believe in themselves. In small steps, we’re creating a program as envisioned by Maria Montessori. No one claims that it is a simple work, because in the rushed-up world of today it’s not easy to be able to stop. We can’t go back in time, but allowing children to grow up with nature, in harmony, without unnecessary (nowadays so necessary for some people) modern devices is a fundamental understanding of nature and the internal equilibrium of man.
An example used by one of the participants impressed me. Young adolescents are like a lobster. When a lobster is born, its shell is soft and vulnerable. Young adolescents are equally vulnerable before they build their “shell”. They got into a new phase of their lives when they’re beginning to get to know themselves, their bodies and inner voices, and are looking for their place in society. Just like the lobster, they’re starting to build their solid shell, and our task is to help them, protect them, support them and encourage them to become aware of their place in life. We have to be careful so that they can be themselves and satisfied with themselves, so that they can appreciate and fortify themselves. So that they know what they want and become independent. Therefore, it is important to observe children and try to understand them from different perspectives of their lives — school, family, friends, environment, health.
We concluded the last day with a ceremony at which we received a certificate of successful completion of AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies (12 – 18) in cooperation with NAMTA. With this, however, our journey doesn’t end but has only just begun. Step by step.
Renata Špalková, Táňa Kadlecová and Helena Matoušková from the Czech Republic took part at the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies (ages 12 – 18) in cooperation with NAMTA in July 2016 in Montessoriskolan Lära för livet, Rydet, Sätila, Sweden. The three ladies are all active in the growing Czech community of adolescent studies. In three places in the Czech Republic they build their Adolescent communities.