It is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children’s needs and natural learning tendencies specific to their age and plane of development. It is individual learning in a collaborative environment. The children are guided by teachers who are specifically trained to observe and put the child in touch with exactly what he or she needs at that very moment to learn. The Montessori education cultivates concentration, motivation, self-discipline, a love of learning and innate creativity. Children learn at their own pace, under the careful guidance of a teacher who knows each child very well, as children remain in the same classroom with the same teachers throughout each program (toddler, primary and elementary). This familiarity allows the student and the teacher to collaborate in the learning process, giving the child a sense of empowerment and self-reliance that he or she will carry into further education and into life.
For children six and under, Montessori emphasises learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to them as a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them 1:1 by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Above age six, children learn to do independent research; arrange field trips to gather information; interview specialists; create group presentation, dramas, art exhibits, musical productions, science projects, and so forth. There is no limit to what they can create in this environment of intelligently guided freedom of choice. There is great respect for the choices of the children, but they easily keep up with or surpass what they would be doing in a more traditional setting. There is no wasted time and children enjoy their work and study. After the teacher connects them with a lesson, much of the learning that follows comes from sharing and inspiring each other instead of competing with each other.
Children in Montessori environments are free to choose within limits, and have only as much freedom as they can handle with appropriate responsibility. The teacher creates daily and weekly lesson plans and tracks every lesson for each child. She maintains detailed individualised records of each child’s progress. The teacher connects the child with the curriculum and then tracks their progress to ensure that every child masters their appropriate level and element of the curriculum.
About Otkrivatel Montessori School
A school year consists of school terms, school days and school holidays. Each school year has duration of 12 months and starts on 15 September and if 15 September is a holiday, it starts on the next working day. For the Toddlers and Primary students the school year is between 1 September and 30 July. Peekaboo Campus is closing only for National holidays and the period between 23rd of December and New Year, and August every year for renovating facilities. The School Program for Elementary Students includes the school days between 15 September and 15 June, as well as opportunities to take part at sports, green and forest school programs during the Summer term between 15 June and 30 July. For each school year, the Minister of Education determines with an order the beginning and the end of school holidays, except for the summer holiday, non-attendance days and Otkrivatel Montessori school complies with them.
The Core School Day is between 8:00am and 4:30pm and there is a possibility for Extended School Day until 6:00 / 6:30pm.
Otkrivatel Montessori School has been accredited by the Ministry of education and science in Bulgaria, since the school first opened its doors in 2013. In 2016 the Elementary program is licensed by the Ministry. In 2017 Otkrivatel Montessori School is licensed as Innovative School by Bulgarian Council of Ministers. We fulfil and exceed the national standards set by the State for every level.
In additional to their university degrees, all teachers from the Toddler through Elementary level hold diplomas from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the organisation founded by Dr. Maria Montessori. AMI trained teachers ensure that the school meets its rigorous standards.
Every child can benefit from a School menu/lunch or have a lunch box from home. A variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, water and herbal tea are offered throughout the day. The School menu for Toddlers and Primary students includes 5 meals a day and is tailored to the specific needs of children. Every elementary child can sign for a School lunch or have a lunch box from home. The school lunch offers nutritionally balanced diet which represents a vital part in the healthy growth and development of children. The menu is balanced, nutritional and delicious which contributes to children’s energetic and full-spirited wellbeing. Healthy food means a healthy body and a healthy brain. Otkrivatel recognises this link and complies fully with nutritional standards. It is prepared by a child nutritionist and executed by a licensed kitchen that has all the necessary sanitary permits. Students participate in preparing some of their food / drinks. We encourage our children to respect the food, to be excited about food and develop good eating skills and table manners. Children are given plenty of time to eat and enjoy the social interaction attached to mealtimes.
Children’s healthy index is monitored on a daily basis. It is our policy that children who are sick remain at home. It is most important that children who are sick are not sent to school. This is for your child's good as well as for the welfare of the other children in the class. Sick children do not benefit from being in school, and can cause other children to become ill.
Our children have the opportunity to play in the fresh air every day throughout the year. We strive to educate them in healthy lifestyle and encourage them to be as physically active as possible every day. There are many occasions where we use the outdoors as an extension of our classroom. When the weather is appropriate we organise nature walks to our nearby parks, excursions and picnics to the mountains, nature trails, horse riding and animal farms. Regularly we organise nature walks, hikes, picnics and camps in the mountain.
Yes, we do. All children attend Yoga classes and Gymnastic activities. Students choose age appropriate activities by their interest in Extended School Day. We have a variety of clubs and classes – arts, drama, music, dancing (classical ballet, folk dancing, hip-hop), piano, robotics and world languages. According the interest of the student, s/he can tap into additional sports: swimming, tennis, football, climbing, aikido. Activities are inclusive and accessible to all students who want to participate.
We, at Otkrivatel Montessori School apply Montessori principles and practices according the highest international standards of AMI (Association Montessori Internationale). Every three years we have an international external evaluation, ensuring that our Montessori setting meets the global best practices in applying Montessori methodology. Our first commitment is to the development of the whole child. Cognitive development and a solid academic foundation are important, yet they represent only one dimension of our aspirations for every child. Equally important is the child’s social, emotional, spiritual and physical development. Every aspect of our organisation is set up to support children’s learning. The child is at the center of our progressive and proven educational platform. Each and every one of the team members, regardless of his/her job title, is dedicated to the superb education of our children, and when it is necessary to decide on something, it is enough to ask: “Is it good for the child/children?” If the answer is positive, we do not need anyone’s approval because we do the best for our children and families. We know that the best way to ensure children learning is to hire and retain motivated teachers whose desire to meet students’ needs is only matched by their dedication to continuous professional growth. Consequently, we invest heavily in professional development and in program development in accordance with the latest innovations in education. All our Montessori pedagogues have AMI Montessori diploma and attend international workshops and post-graduation trainings, where they gain cutting-edge teaching and learning which is disseminated experientially and joyfully. Bilingual curriculum and lessons planning at the elementary level considers that the student is entering a new plane of development characterised by tremendous imagination, critical thinking, questioning mind, a strong sense of morality and justice, and a strong need for peer relationships. The academic progress is individually-paced for allowing students to explore their interests and acquire the mastery of basic skills and knowledge. Learning environment meets the educational standards of AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) and offers activities that provide deeper educational experiences. Students have opportunities to plan, monitor and assess their own work, thereby enhancing their independence and responsibility for their own actions. We promote the development of organisational and time management skills, creativity, critical thinking, independence, cooperation, and collaboration.
The school accepts students if there are any places available at the school. Admission of students complies with the requirements and conditions made by the School Governance and Pedagogical Committee in accordance with relevant regulations. Please review our Application Process page for more details.
This is an opportunity for children to visit the school and meet some of their potential classmates and teachers. It allows our faculty to meet your child and get a sense of their level of independence, self-direction, social and emotional development, and interests.
Tuition will be published in January along with the tuition for the other levels. Please review our Tuition page for more details.
Yes, we accept transfer students from non-Montessori schools. Each child could benefit from student-centered learning environment. In admission, we evaluate the level of independence, social and emotional skills of the child and the readiness to join one of our classrooms. Contact the school administration for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Toddlers Community
We meet the standard established by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which include guidelines for class size. During the Core School Day our low student-to-faculty ratio enables us to place a strong focus on the child and deliver individualised teaching to each student. The Toddlers classroom has a maximum of 15 children supported by an AMI trained teacher and 1 or 2 assistants.
The potty training process will begin upon notification from either the parents or the teacher that the child is ready. We dedicate up to a month to the potty-training process, while the school and the parents will work on this process congruently till the child is successfully potty trained.
Toddlers and Primary children are encouraged to have a nap time, but naps are optional. Toddlers and Primary children who are enrolled in the Full-day programme will have a nap time (optional) or a quiet play time after the lunch.
About Primary and Elementary Community
We meet the standard established by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which include guidelines for class size. The ratio is 1 teacher per 12-15 children. This is because the Montessori approach focuses on independence. Independent activity accounts for 80% of the work, while the other 20% is teacher-guided. Materials are self-correcting so that once a student has a lesson from the teacher on a particular area, he can work independently to problem-solve. The teachers are always available for consultation and comprehensive follow-up. This independence fosters self-discipline, initiative and responsibility. The older children in the class often help the younger students with their work. This builds confidence in the older child as well as allowing for an internalisation of the knowledge and solidification of skills necessary to move through to the next work. By seeing what older children have mastered, younger children experience encouragement and connectedness to where their own work can lead them. It’s also important to note that in a traditional classroom students are given group instruction whereas in a Montessori classroom children are given one-on-one instruction.
Setting examples by the adults and older children is the most effective way of teaching social skills. We further emphasise the social skills by frequent reviews during the circle time and Grace and Courtesy lessons.
At Otkrivatel Montessori School, we believe that the skills needed to resolve conflicts are as important as math, reading, writing and other disciplines that are traditionally taught in school. When a conflict arises that lends itself to conflict resolution, we use a variety of mediation techniques. Mediations are facilitated by either teachers or peers. One of the tenets of Montessori philosophy is the belief in the importance of freedom and responsibility. We emphasise respect and personal responsibility. If a student is acting in an inappropriate manner, a teacher may speak to the student directly and address the behaviour and/or redirect the student to appropriate work.
The answer is "When they are ready". For example, teaching a child how to write if he doesn't yet know how to hold a pencil is doomed to failure. Most of what goes on in a child's development at this age is to do with motor skills, concentration, and confidence, socialising and becoming aware that learning is great fun. Only when those are firmly in place, and providing the child is beginning to show an interest in numbers and letters, we do introduce him to the relevant materials and lessons.
Otkrivatel Montessori School places great emphasis on Bulgarian and English language and literacy throughout the curriculum. According their level, each day students in all classes work on expression, vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, spelling, and handwriting in both languages. Elementary children read, write a daily journal, and do research projects. The Lower Elementary students present the results of their research projects orally, while older students do so in writing for review by the teachers. Elementary students read individually and with their teachers every day. These students prepare frequent book reports and read a variety of materials in association with their research projects. Students practice expository and creative writing, such as poetry and fiction. All students at Otkrivatel Montessori School participate in English lessons taught by native speaker each day. Some students participate in German or Spanish language lessons each week, working toward cultural awareness and developing some elementary conversation skills. All languages are taught by native speakers and include participation in cultural experiences such as singing, dancing, native arts and crafts, cooking, and celebrating native holidays.
We do not introduce computers into the classroom until the child is 9 years old. Not because Montessori schools don’t believe in technology, but because the young child learns best through experience in the concrete, tactile reality of the three-dimensional world rather than through two-dimensional simulation of an electronic, virtual reality. The Upper Elementary Program is committed to integrating technology into the curriculum and making it accessible to students. The students have access to a wide variety of tools that support the school’s curriculum, including a video camera to film their productions, projects and experiments, plus microscopes, telescopes, barometers and other equipment for scientific experimentation. Our classrooms have state-of-the-art technology with computers and Internet access that students can use daily as key tools in research, information management and communication. Starting with proper use of the keyboard, students soon expand their skills to research a botany or geography topic, take a “virtual field trip” to the Louvre, or seek more in-depth understanding of current events on the Internet. Children can communicate with students in other schools.
The use of mobile phones during lessons with us is prohibited, so when entering the territory of the school they should be handed over to the classroom teacher. In case of an emergency students can phone, but only with the permission and in the presence of the teacher.
Our belief is that the “homework” of the primary and elementary-age child is defined as the activities that he does within his family and his community. Once the school day is over, the child should experience everything that provides self-enrichment and helps develop the skills necessary to live a life independent and fulfilled. In traditional schools, the goal of homework is to teach independent work skills. At Montessori, independent work skills are learned in the classroom. In addition, in a traditional school, the teacher often relies on homework to determine how a child is performing. In a Montessori school the teacher spends much of her time observing and tracking each student’s progress so she know exactly where he or she is academically. Homework, in the more traditional sense, begins when a student is 12 years of age and enters the Adolescent Program. Independent and group projects serve to extend the lessons within the classroom. Regular assignments and deadlines help prepare the student for life beyond their educational experience here.
Traditional grades provide a quantitative evaluation of a child’s work. Grading creates an environment of winners and losers, undermining the spirit of cooperation and community. Research indicates that grading actually reduces creativity, as students aim for work that will be safe and acceptable to the adult. And therein lies a third powerful reason not to use traditional grades: the children begin to work to please the adult rather than themselves; to work for the extrinsic rather than the intrinsic reward. For these reasons, Otkrivatel does not “grade” children.
Our students have the wonderful experience of a smooth transition, whether they choose a public or private school. It is recommended that the transition points are at the completion of each three-year cycle. It is our hope that each student who begins at primary will complete the full breadth of Otkrivatel’s program. We help with the transition to area high schools and other schools as a supportive part of the school environment here. Happily, the habits and skills a child develops in a Montessori class last a lifetime and stand a child in good stead no matter where they go.