This month, thanks to the incredible support of the Blossom Hill Foundation, The Azraq Center launched a first-of-its kind program in Azraq: a Montessori Early Education Center!
Not only is this the FIRST early education center in South Azraq, it is incorporating the proven innovative Montessori learning method into the classroom, something never before seen in this small, rural town.
Here’s how we did it:
1. Partner with a World Class Montessori Institution
We partnered with the Modern Montessori School in Amman, Jordan, a 30+ year old institution, to conduct an intensive Montessori teacher training for 11 trainees. Over the course of 3 months, our group of trainees commuted to Amman for training in Montessori theory and developmental psychology. The course included hands-on experience in Montessori classrooms as well as lecture time with certified trainers. At the end of 180 hours, each trainee sat for an exam and earned a Ministry of Education-certified certificate in Montessori Education!
2. Create a classroom
Montessori classrooms are set up with specific guidelines and intentionality. We engaged with a local carpenter and local furniture manufacturer to create the required materials for our classroom. This includes KG-sized classroom furniture in addition to the specific Montessori tools and activities that our students will learn with. We are proud to source all of our materials locally to support the Jordanian economy and small businesses. Once everything was delivered, it was fun to unpack it all and set it all up!
3. Select the students
The Azraq Center conducted an extensive outreach campaign to select 30 students ages 3-5 to participate in the program. Students come from both Syrian and Jordanian families, in an effort to bring families together and support social cohesion here in Azraq. We took measures to ensure families understood the level of commitment required for the program, would ensure regular attendance from their children, and were open and receptive to the ideas of both early education AND alternative learning methods.
4. Spread awareness of the new concept
Since this was the first time that our beneficiaries had ever even heard the term “Montessori”, it was important to share the philosophy behind the program and prep the families for what to expect! Our three selected teachers and school administrators hosted an introductory awareness session for all the moms to learn about the program and ask questions. We conducted a pre-program assessment and moderated a lively and engaging discussion! The parents were particularly enthusiastic about the philosophy behind Montessori learning, the idea that students learn through peer-to-peer learning and activity/play base vs. the traditional classroom environment.
5. Put it all together!
Now that we have a beautiful space, qualified teachers, engaged parents, and eager students, it is time to get learning! Classes are finally beginning and we can’t wait to show you the results of this incredible effort! Stay tuned as our classroom gets going!