CHILDREN TEACH ME TO LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES
Day after day I do what I enjoy, what makes sense to me and what brings me tremendous fulfillment. For me, Marché Montessori is not only a wonderful job, but also a hobby.
JOURNEY TO THE WORLD OF MONTESSORI, OR WHEN A SHORTAGE BECOMES AN INSPIRATION
By 2008, I focused on design work and was building my own fashion label. Originally I studied fashion design, right after school I learned from Klára Nademlýnská and later worked for E.daniely. At twenty, I dreamed of my own boutique with a glass revolving showcase.
Then came the family and I began to explore various methods of education. Montessori inspired me and I felt that these are the principles with which I identify. I fell in love with the approach where the children are perceived as competent beings, where they can explore the world according to their internal needs and have a chance to live with a free and open mind. The approach where the children have the opportunity to have her own opinion, where they are treated with respect and love and where they are loved for who they are.
Although it would have never occurred to me six years ago, today I am fulfilling my dreams, which actually mean much more to me than a dress for a blue-eyed beauty. Design and attention to detail, however, remained an essentially important element for me till today…
EDUCATION OF MY CHILDREN HAS LEAD ME FARTHER THAN I HAVE EVER EXPECTED
When my elder son was 2.5 years old, he was in a Montessori preschool, which for me fulfilled everything I had imagined. But then, our financial situation changed and I started to look for other options. I ended up ignominiously ending the agreement on early childhood education and asking my parents for financial help, so we could pay the tuition for the two months of a notice period. The joy and contentment were replaced by an experience that contained a lot of doubts.
We decided for the variant of a state Montessori preschool, but we were not admitted the first year. Thus came another Montessori preschool, then another transfer and more unmet needs. All my dreams of Montessori suddenly buckled like a house of cards.
In my mind I had questions: “Is really the Montessori environment and approach the right thing I want for my kids?”, “Is it not possible to do it otherwise, without toys, only with original materials?”, “Is this the only way?”. Those moments made me think, study further and ultimately take action. I had to grapple with the idea of wherein lies the rub, why is it that so many things were not to my liking. Slowly I recognized why Montessori is the right path for me, and what Montessori meant after all.
Even though a lot of the experiences I would rather do without, I realize that if it were not for this knowledge and bitter experiences, for the feelings of misunderstanding, frustration and despair, I would not be where I am now.
OPENING THE DOOR OF MARCHÉ MONTESSORI
Two years before I founded the Marché Montessori Toddler class, I started to produce language materials and supplementary cards for Montessori materials in Czech, which lead the child’s imagination from the concrete to the abstract. My innate creativity filled a gap in the market. It happened gradually, first I created them for my own needs – for my son, and later to facilitate the work of other moms and teachers. Somehow it made more sense to me that he learned something while playing with me, rather than to just push toy cars around. This way Marché Montessori was originally created.
During the 5 years I have occupied myself with the production of the educational cards, many new beginnings came. I have devoted hundreds of hours to it, started three times completely from scratch, before the last revision I had to take a breather for two months, many times I was tempted to pack it up and then I was trying to decide whether to go for it again. Enthusiasm has always won, thanks to the support of Maria Roth, AMI trainer for ages 3-6, with whom I worked on the development of the cards.
KEY TO THE MONTESSORI INSTITUTIONS
In May 2012, my understanding of the Montessori pedagogy and approach crystallized. Patricia Wallner, an AMI trainer for ages 0-3 came and her lecture changed my life. She answered the questions which made me sleepless. Her words were a liberation to me. She gave me strength and confidence that my feelings were correct, and that I have something in me that has the potential to transform Montessori inspiration in something full-fledged. It kicked me so that I suddenly knew without a doubt that this is exactly what I want to do, and it resulted in the opening of Marché Montessori Toddler class in September 2013, instead of a showroom for a fashion brand. The class has been from the very beginning built on the standards of AMI (more on AMI).
By this time, our younger son was two years old and it made sense to me to do a tiny family community. What was going on in the toddler classroom was fascinating. The kids were amazing, they made huge advances, the atmosphere was magical and together with my colleague Lucie Horáková we really enjoyed the work. When looking at the children, who after a few weeks were able to prepare a snack for themselves, peel a carrot, pour the soup at lunch time and wash the dishes afterwards at just two years of age, I knew that what I was doing makes sense. Children can do so much more at an early age than most people think. And you know what’s best? They incredibly enjoy it. Children’s joy of success is disarming!
WHEN YOU WANT AND NEED TO GIVE CHILDREN THE BEST
In November 2014 came the idea of a school and a preschool for ages 3-6. For financial reasons, I refused to adopt the preschool idea for a long time, but then I could not resist. I thought, if anything, then everything. What followed were many more hours of work, consultations and arrangements, but again with success…
And so in September 2015 we opened a Montessori class for children of 3-6 years and at the same time an Elementary school. I like to look for other ways to achieve high quality teaching while doing an honest Montessori education the way Maria Montessori wanted it – with love and joy.
I try to pass on all the pieces of knowledge that are coming to me through Montessori. Whether in the form of articles, presentations, photos and authentic videos on my websites of the institutions, on the Marché Montessori z.s. website, on Facebook or YouTube. I am happy when I manage to inspire other kindergartens, schools, their teachers and parents themselves.
HAVE A NICE DAY AND LIVE A LIFE THAT WILL FULFILL YOU!
Petra Šlencová Bílská, Marché Montessori
My story is a path to children’s stories, full of desire to know the world and find their own ways, according to their inclinations, with joy and fulfillment, so that they enjoy success, fulfill their dreams and feel loved.