More than one thousand teachers were trained and 50 preeschools were opened by our teachers with our support during the years from 1986/87 until the end of 2009.
Carol Guy-James introduced the Montessori method in a seminar in 1984, held in collaboration with the Institut Pedagogique National (IPN) for educators from 40 Institutions. The Montessori approach was new to these educators and was enthusiastically received. However, this brief introduction was not enough to allow teachers to begin teaching using the method.
In 1986 we organized the first academic year training program to train teachers to an international standard in Montessori. The first training program took place in Cap Haitian in partnership with a local priest. At the end of the training, each student teacher was required to pass an international Montessori competency exam to earn their diploma. This ensured the new program produced competent teachers with verified skills. After the first training year, our Foundation helped four of our newly qualified teachers open bona fide Montessori kindergartens of their own. The Foundation gave each school a standard set of Montessori classroom materials and child-sized furniture, as well as some small funds for renovations to the premises to start the schools.
Each school would be owned and operated by the teacher/director and would charge a modest tuition for each child that was within the means of most families in their community. The school would provide the school director with a modest income and offer high quality Montessori preschool education to their communities for the very first time. We eventually developed a system of the new schools providing a certain number of free scholarships for very poor village children whose families could not afford even the modest tuition as a means of “paying it forward” in return for materials and other help donated by the Foundation. The teachers loved this approach and it helped their new schools earn respect in their communities.
The following year we moved the training to the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Again, qualified teachers were given start-up grants to open schools and the Foundation helped three teachers open new schools in Port-au-Prince as a result. Every year since then, the Foundation has continued to help qualified teachers open schools after they have completed our training course and competency exam. The element of free scholarships and “paying it forward” continues to ensure that high quality education is within the reach of even the poorest of the poor in Haiti.
From the start of its teacher training initiative in 1986/87, the Foundation continued to assist qualified teachers to open their own schools, and by 2009 over one thousand teachers were trained and we established a network of 50 schools in different parts of Haiti.
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation continued to support the budding Montessori community in the Ivory Coast. In 2008, the Foundation had funded the first Montessori school, with the goal of empowering cocoa growing households to increase educational opportunities, while reducing the prevalence of child labor on cocoa plantations. 23 teachers have been trained and 4 preschools have been started by the graduates.
In 2013 the Foundation purchased land for a permanent school which would improve the quality of education in the cocoa farming community and provided support to the pioneer schools.
The Montessori preschool in Abengourou, Ivory Coast, acquired a piece of land for the purpose of constructing a school. This will mean a permanent home for the Montessori preschool, started in 2008.
Financed by the Peter Hesse Foundation, the school started as an initiative to improve the quality of education in cocoa farming communities through early childhood education and teacher training.
So far, the school has been operating in rented premises. The school will continue to operate in rented premises until a school building is constructed (this will happen as funds permits). The land, however is a great start in making the school permanent. A permanent school will bring us closer to the goal of empowering cocoa households to increase educational opportunities, while reducing the prevalence of child labor on cocoa plantations.
Extract of 4 chapters from VISION WORKS, 2008, by Peter Hesse
– (pages 315 to 325 in the book) – 6 pages PDF.
On the way to Africa
– containing these subtitles:
– Montessori – the trainable method
– Reaching for Africa and beyond
– Early learning – a basic solution
On Friday 4th May, 13 student teachers graduated the Montessori training course in Abengourou, Ivory Coast. This is the second promotion of teachers to persevere to the finish line in the war-torn country. A total of 23 teachers from both promotions are now the pioneers of the Montessori Method which emphasizes peace, and teaches children to work alongside each other in harmony. Qualities that would certainly be beneficial for the country. Although it is a small step in what is needed, three new pre-schools will open in the coming academic year by our graduates, one in Abengourou, one in Bouak – and another in Yamoussoukro.
Photos from the first Montessori pre-school of the CENTRE MONTESSORI of the Ivory Coast of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Abengourou, Ivory Coast.