Once in a lifetime opportunities should be grabbed with both hands. I and Ali, as the trustees of ILM did just that. We clubbed heritage hopping with work and came back with memories worth cherishing. 2015 was wonderful. A personal high point, would be our visit to Amsterdam and the day we spent at the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale).
The building itself is stately and grand. Built of burnt bricks it retains the old world charm that is now a part of its very being. The AMI is spread globally. But its head quarters in Amsterdam hold special significance. It is the seat of Montessori wisdom. Maria Montessori walked its halls and in fact, the structure that houses the AMI office was her last home. It is a sacred shrine to Montessori evangelists (like yours truly) and has been preserved as a museum.
The AMI is involved in a myriad activities including the provision of very high quality Montessori training to pre-primary and elementary teachers.
THE AMI EXPERIENCE:
The week we spent in Amsterdam was hectic. Most of it was dedicated to our GTD training. But we were not about to return to India without paying homage to the artefacts and the legacy of Maria Montessori. So off we went to the AMI office – on a Saturday.
The Secrtertial Joke Verheul was gracious enough to accommodate us, specially being a weekend. As she led us through the house, we just drank in the atmosphere hungrily. Every little nook and cranny of the old house, we looked at it in awe. It was a privilege to spend time between the four walls that had once been the abode of the Mistress of the Montessori methodology.
We perused the books in the library and had a wonderful chat with Joke, sharing the successes, challenges, highs and wins that have defined our personal Montessori journey.
SOME SPECIAL THINGS WE REMEMBER:
The tour of Maria Montessori’s study is still fresh in my mind. The room wasn’t very large but was a time machine that took us back a hundred years. Each memorabilia, maintained with such tender love and care spoke of adventures across Europe, Asia and back!
We could relate very deeply with some of the artefacts that were witnesses of Maria Montessori’s 7 year Indian sojourn with her beloved son Mario.
And who can forget this view from the library window? It is simply out of this world.
We just can’t wait to return and know more about the life and work of the fascinating woman who continues to impact the growth and development of children around the world in such a profound way. Maria Montessori’s essence still lingers on at her home in Amsterdam.
If you ever get a chance to visit the AMI, please do! We highly recommend the experience. Meanwhile, if you would like to learn more about the Maria Montessori’s life and journey, Punum Bhatia, PHD has traced and traveled Maria Montessori’s entire life journey and documented the same pdf document here. It’s done in a picture blog format. A must read for Montessori fans.
As always here are some images and descriptions from our trip.