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What is Montessori?

Montessori education is an alternative pedagogical approach based on the work of Maria Montessori, an Italian physician in the early 1900’s. It draws upon a model of human development and is characterized by multi-age classrooms where children work freely and independently, receiving small group lessons from the teachers. There is a high level of interdependence in the classroom, resulting in an atmosphere of cooperation and responsibility. As much work as possible in the classroom is done by the hands, using Montessori materials when available.

Beauty, courtesy, compassion and cooperation are stressed. It is a system based on respect and peace, founded on principles of harmony and gratitude.

(For more detailed information on the characteristics of Montessori education, the following link provides an extensive overview: For more Montessori references, please go to Links and Connections.

Montessori in the House of Flowers

In the House of Flowers, we have adapted the critical principles and characteristics of the Montessori approach. Even though we do not have access to all of the classic Montessori classroom materials, we do have a small set, and for some materials we have improvised or used supplies available in the environment. But what is most important are the philosophical and environmental principles.

The Montessori educational structure of the House of Flowers is completely unique in Afghanistan.While the House of Flowers children do attend local traditional schools for a few hours a day, our in-house education program provides a Montessori environment where the children explore more subjects in much greater depth in a balanced, holistic and practical way. Through the application of Montessori principles, the children gain in self-confidence, they retain their natural curiosity and they cooperate rather than compete.  The result is a rich and peaceful learning environment, so appealing that it has attracted the attention of the national director of orphanages as a model for other orphanages.

Montessori Qualifications: The education coordinator of MEPO, Allison Lide, is a certified and experienced Montessori teacher. She received her Montessori training from Bergamo, Italy and is certified by the Association Montessori Internationale at the Elementary (age 6-12) level.

Read more:

Montessori Philosophy in the House of Flowers  (includes a description of how the principles are manifested in the House)

Our Education Program  (both traditional and Montessori)

Training and Expansion  (sharing the model with other orphanages)