In spite of the financial, administrative and political hurdles, we are going to begin the rebuilding of our teacher training center that was destroyed in the earthquake. We do not yet have all the funds to complete the building, but we will begin with what we have. It has been over a year since the earthquake and it is time for the Haitian people to move forward. To wait, until all necessary means are available and all political as well as administrative hurdles will be overcome, is not acceptable in view of the suffering people of Haiti – specially their children.
The groundwork for the center will begin in April 2011 by volunteers from the „Berufskolleg Kempen“, a vocational school in Germany. In February 2011 a team from the German volunteer initiative, Pastor Roland Kuehne, architect Benno Friebe and construction-engineer Thomas Brux visited Haiti to make an evaluation of the ground and to calculate the materials and equipment needed for the initial phase. This is a start!
We still need 1.200.000, – US $ to be able to complete the building. We will continue to build in phases as funds become available. Here again the account of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation with the Commerzbank Düsseldorf, Germany, for international donations:
IBAN: DE14 3004 0000 0315 6080 00 – BIC: COBADEFFXXX
Peter-Hesse-Foundation, Haiti – 18 March 2011
Carol reporting from Haiti – 27 April 2011
Students from the vocational school in Kempen, after seeing the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, knew they had to do something to help. “We do not have money but we can build” they said. They put their words into action and gave up their Easter vacation to construct the foundations for buildings that would become a center for training teachers when it is completed.
Seven students accompanied by four teachers stayed at a school in Liancourt, a short walk away from the building site. They slept on the floor and braved the lack of water and electricity for three weeks. Dispite the short timeframe they were able to complete their goal by working long hours, sometimes working by flashlight and the headlights from a car.
with local Haitians preparing the ground of our new training center in Liancourt, Haiti, during the Easter holidays 2011.
22 students began training to be teachers in Liancourt in July. The course is using one of the preschool buildings while the children are on summer break. Training will continue in the afternoons when the preschool reconvenes in September. We are continuing to build the new teacher training center bit by bit as funds become available. We are looking forward to the return of the volunteers from Kempen to Haiti in October. They will continue construction on the new teacher training center that they started in April 2011.
Since the earthquake in January 2010, millions of dollars in emergency aid have helped rebuild brick and mortar structures around Haiti, including some school buildings. But little support has been given to improving teacher skills as a critical element in the success of a school. We believe the efforts of rebuilding schools should include sustainable approaches to improving the quality of education.
The Montessori teacher training and the resulting project-schools initiated by the Peter-Hesse-Foundationin, Haiti, is now a partner-project of Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF)®, (Montessori without Borders©), a division of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) that is dedicated to assisting children through the Montessori approach to education. – See: www.amiesf.org/action/haiti.htm. The Haiti-project was presented by Carol Guy-James Barratt and Peter Hesse (Photo) in the third EsF-congress in Dallas, Texas, in August 2011.
EsF is an organization of individuals who make a meaningful contribution to education by using the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori to help children achieve their full potential as members of society. Members of EsF are committed to working with each other, with communities, other organizations, governments, non-profits and a variety of partners to champion children’s education at home or abroad. Its members are people like you and me who want to make a difference and have a spirit of dedication, integrity and initiative to creating lasting change in the lives of children. EsF provides its members with the chance to change children’s lives by linking people with vast and varied experiences in helping children to flourish in all kinds of communities by applying Montessori principles.
EsF gives its members a chance to take their work to the next level by volunteering, getting support in starting an initiative, donating books or materials, by supporting a child in another country to go to school, or by supporting the training of a Montessori teacher, or by fund raising. EsF recognizes that no effort is too big or too small to contribute towards changing the lives of children for a better and more peaceful world. Educateurs sans Frontieres can help you to make your effort a reality. – http://www.amiesf.org/
Reaching children in less favorable situations in our ONE world in diversity would also help the realization of the six Dakar Education for All (EfA) goals – excepted by 164 countries in 2000:
GLOBAL COMMITMENT for child-centered Education for All: The Peter-Hesse-Foundation joins the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in the spirit of AMI’s “Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF)” – Teachers without Borders.
is not only a vision. It is a proven reality; it works in Haiti. There are not many more unsuitable and unfavorable framework conditions in the world than in Haiti. – But: why is Montessori Early Childhood Education in Haiti a successful model; why does it work?
The answer is relatively simple if you compare what happens in children’s minds in Montessori’s child-centered learning compared to the “traditional” teacher-centered didactics based on repetitive learning by heart of some more or less useful text: Maria Montessori’s conclusions after carefully observing children’s natural way to learn and act led to the individualization of children’s learning speed and learning path from concrete to abstract and obviously is also more joyful for the learning child.
Recent brain-research confirms, that human beings best remember what they learned in a passionate way, what their body, mind and soul absorbed in a holistic way – like in a gentle Montessori environment.
The “traditional” drill-style way to teach in Haiti like in other parts of the developing world is far less touching the child. Drill-style learning is, however not invented in the developing countries; it was imported from Europe – or more precise, from the time when in Prussia former military sergeants were given jobs to teach children. In a Montessori environment children are self-motivated to learn and to use their brain in a more creative way which is a precondition to find practical solutions in life when growing up – including to secure their own income.
This is a first but vital step to fight poverty. We have evidence of children from most simple illiterate family backgrounds in Haiti who have beautifully well developed their potentials up to academic levels. Of course, starting chances in life through qualified education is not the only precondition for success in life. There are political and social framework-conditions which are equally important to break the vicious poverty circle – but without early stimulation of a child’s natural learning mind, body and soul, there is much less chance.
Maria Montessori’s initiating work to improve education already one hundred years ago has today obtained multiple scientific backing by advanced human science, especially by recent brain research. Whether a child’s natural desire to learn is only a result of evolutionary natural development and/or whether there is also some ‘divine touch’ involved in this capacity of a growing human being may still be an unsolved mystery but it is unfortunately a fact that this natural capacity to learn is still a widely untapped treasure, a real potential, a possibility for human development in our ONE world in diversity.
In my early profession as a management trainer and consultant I have learned, it became evident in the teaching process through practical experience that adult learning to be a ‘better manager’ has significant parallels with Maria Montessori’s findings. Since I, of course, wanted to be successful in this new German post-war profession, I avoided simple lecturing in favor of practical playful exercise and group dynamics. Adults who, like children, are self-motivated to learn, are acquiring vital social skills from practice to cognitive understanding, not by dry theory. A manager may understand through reading or lecturing, for example, what goes wrong in one-way communication, how such one-way communication content gets twisted around. To really change such useless habits in favor of successful two-way exchanges is learned in playful games. Experience changes habits, not theory.
We are today at a tipping point of transforming our way to learn and to teach to solve multiple problems in our complex multi-cultural societies in making use of integral learning experience. This includes experiences in fighting poverty through holistic Montessori-style learning versus traditional cognitive transmission of dry theoretical knowledge. We can also wake-up and make use of our our creative instincts to fight poverty through better learning in a large scale reality. To promote change to appropriate framework conditions our elected leaders only need to open their minds to realize humanities learning potential for a peaceful more balanced world.
Even though cultural diversity, of course, influences the content of the newly re-discovered active learning potential of all human beings, practical learning already happens in many ways in our today’s fast changing reality. The skill to use electronic equipment by young children is one example. Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields seem to be involved in our cross-cultural reality. This may well speed up large-scale learning processes. The formal school systems, however, do not always follow the newly re-discovered learning potentials. It is time to change this now. A hundred years ago, Maria Montessori set the pace for this global challenge. Now, brain scientists come to comparable conclusions. This may help to reduce political skepticism. This should improve the willingness of educational politics to be part of the needed changing processes.
A strong supporting argument for accepting what Maria Montessori – and modern scientific brain research – found out leading to the need of child-centered processes in large-scale education is that it even works in most deprived situations in the world – like in Haiti.
Peter-Hesse-Foundation SOLIDARITY IN PARTNERSHIP for ONE world in diversity.
The sanitary units are being prepared and the drilling of a water well is now firmly planned. The German volunteers, who had already prepared the ground for the houses of the training center in Liancourt in April, are in full preparation for their second building trip to Haiti. The group from the Kempen “Berufskolleg” (comprehensive college) will work again together with local Haitians in the second part of October 2011 to continue building as much as possible in the framework of their donated holiday time and of our limited financial resources
Peter Hesse, 23 August 2011
We are working to raise enough money to complete the roof during the Easter holidays 2012 when a third group of students will go to Haiti to continue building the training halls and the water supply-connections. Rotary has promised to drill the needed well. We still need financing for basic furnishings of the buildings and for the needed solar power to finally start the formation of new teachers in the fall of 2012.
Peter Hesse, Early in November 2011