Teachers from Latvia visited Otkrivatel: Freedom of choice and true collaboration

Last week a group of Montessori colleagues from Latvia visited Otkrivatel Montessori School and did some observations at our classrooms. 

The group consisted of one guide for pre-school level, two elementary or primary school teachers (one teaching grades 1-3 and the other 4-6) and an English teacher for 1-6 grades.

Pardaugavas Montessori elementary is located in Riga, Latvia. Children from the age of 1,5 up to 12 years have the possibility to learn according to the education principles laid out by Dr. Maria Montessori. Our mission is to support the natural development of each child and to help them become more independent. With over 100 children enrolled, it is currently one of the largest Montessori schools in Latvia.”

What did you find out the most interesting and at the same time different here in our school rather than in yours in Latvia?

What was new for us was to see the adolescences working and how this community was organised. 

We think the most interesting thing was the way adolescents were given the freedom of movement (allowed to go outside school area by themselves to do shopping for example), freedom of choice when thinking about their budget that they have to balance out. Also the freedom of choice when thinking about what to prepare for breakfast and lunch. We haven’t seen such activities. We all felt very welcomed in their classroom also the way how they cooperate with each other, supporting as well, when needed.

What do you observe differently in the way of thinking and functioning of the students in “Otkrivatel” compared to the students in a your school?

Well as we already mentioned in the previous question the most interesting things from the observations is the support of each other and the trust of that support. I noticed when a girl in adolescent group had an issue while working on PC, for example, instead of going to ask the teacher for help or solution, she went to seek advice and help from another student. The student gladly responded at this call for support. That is something we never see in our school. We are yet to grow (as we see it, we lack some experience in this) to this level of this cooperation, so it was great to observe such cooperation. It was an honour for us to spend time with all of you!