Mirka & Team in Norway: What did We Learn?

Hey friends!

I have a question for you: What is your big vision? I mean, if you could make a list of all the things you would like to do before your time on this planet is over, what would be on it?

I asked myself the same question the other day as we were working on our visions in the Montessori Entrepreneurs Community. My first thought was: “I don’t have a big vision anymore. I have all I ever wanted.”

But no. There is more. 

I envision Montessori Institute Prague (MIP) becoming Montessori University Prague (MUP). At MUP, you will be able to earn bachelor’s or master’s Montessori pedagogical degrees, which will be recognized globally as teaching certificates. This is my vision. It is big, hairy, and audacious. I am not sure if it is attainable, but I will work for it anyway.

Why am I sharing this and how is it connected to Norway? Well, it might not surprise you, but the story starts with us receiving an Erasmus grant, which allows us to travel and learn from others. (By the way, if you want to be able to use grants for helping finance you your Montessori project(s), make sure to check out our upcoming program!)

For a long time, we have been looking up to our Montessori colleagues in Norway as there are so many inspiring things happening there, and we have so much to learn from them. It did not take much deliberation to decide that Norway is our next strategic destination to visit. We made plans and went…

Meet Madlena Ulrich and Carla Foster – our AMI trainers. They teach at the University of South East Norway, where you can obtain a Montessori pedagogical degree. Also meet Nina Johansen, the head of Montessori Norway, who spearheaded the creation of the Norwegian Montessori National Curriculum.

I am writing this blog post three weeks after our return to Prague, and I still feel quite emotional about this work trip. We did so many amazing things, met so many incredibly inspiring people and learned so much about how we can grow and develop our Montessori work! Let me share more about the things we experienced & learnt.

We visited two amazing Montessori schools: the Tonsberg Montessori School and Baerum Montessori. The program at Tonsberg includes a farm environment. The leader heading the program there is Karl Bruun, a 12-18 AMI trainer in training. At Baerum, we ate lunch, which was made for us by elementary students of the school. We had the best focaccia bread I have ever eaten! The team at Baerum, including the leader Stephanie Chaigneau, was absolutely amazing, and we spent half a day sharing experiences and discussing many things. We hope that both school teams can come to Prague to visit our school too.

We visited Montessori Norway and learned all about the approval of the Montessori curriculum in Norway. Montessori Norway has achieved what all Montessori umbrella organizations dream about. If you have similar plans, make sure to learn from their experience.

We had several great meetings with Madlena Ulrich and Carla Foster, planning our future courses and projects together. It was invaluable to see them in their home environment. Carla’s husband gave us the most amazing historical tour of Tonsberg, one of the oldest towns in Norway.

And last, but definitely not least, we had a successful full-day working meeting with representatives of the University. It felt almost unreal to see Montessori taught in the University environment. A class of 30 people studying Montessori for free, as part of their further pedagogical university studies.

The deputy leader of the Institute of Pedagogy, Department of Educational Science, Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Educational Science, Meryl Lillenes, was “very impressed with our strategic plan and extensive professional experience with raising grant funding” (her words). 

Hanka Chramostova, the Principal of our Montessori school, presented about her work and the work of her school team, focusing on inclusion and support of children with diverse needs. She has so much to share after 10 years of experience running and developing our programs! Participants in the meeting were asking many questions.

What is the result of all that effort? 

We learned a great deal. We made many international connections. We are humbled realizing how much we have achieved and how much our work is valued on a global scale. And, we shook hands with the Uni!!

We are starting to plan an international collaboration between the University of South East Norway and Montessori Institute Prague!! 

However big, hairy and audacious your vision may seem, I encourage you to capture it and share it with the world. It gets things moving. Who knows, we may have Montessori University Prague one day. 

With love and care. 


PS: Huge, really huge thanks go to Plamena Koleva, MIP Grants Coordinator, who not only wrote the grant which made this trip possible but also organized the whole trip itinerary, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. The trip was one of the most powerful experiences I ever had.

PS2: Thank you to the whole team of people hosting and welcoming us so warmly in Norway, as well as everyone coming in the MIP team. And thank you, Erasmus! The funding Erasmus makes available changes this world to a better place.