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Yoezerling School

Location: Paro, Bhutan

Website: www.michaelolaf.net/bhutan.html
Program Established: 2006
# of Children: 15 Ages Served: 3-4
Immediate Needs:
  1. Funding to send teachers to Chennai, India to receive the AMI Montessori training.
  2. Donations to purchase materials.
Contact Person: Susan Stephenson or Sally Connellan
Contact Information: sallycon@ozemail.com.au
Yoezerling School in Paro, Bhutan was started in 2006 and began as a traditional school with just a few Montessori materials. Dendy, the head teacher was sponsored to go to Thailand for four training sessions over a two and a half year period and completed an extremely challenging course to earn the highly respected AMI diploma. In Bhutan the country follows a policy of GNH “Gross National Happiness” rather than GNP “Gross National Product”. Every day school begins with a pledge of allegiance and morning prayers. The Yoezerling School is becoming a model Montessori program for the young children of Paro.

In the spring of 2010, Susan Stephenson and her daughter, Narda Sherman travelled to Bhutan from the USA for two weeks to help complete the transition from a traditional to an authentic Montessori classroom. They drew plans for tables, stools and cupboards, made aprons out of old school uniforms, scrubbed, sanded and repainted the few old Montessori materials they could find, and gave the woodworker plans for creating others, such as the wooden parts of the dressing frames, and red rods. The family, friends, even neighbors all chipped in.

The floor mats, which define a child's working space in a Montessori classroom, were woven by Tibetans. The line for learning to walk carefully is made of green tape. The child's broom was made just like an adult broom, only child size. To make the Montessori dressing frames a wonderful local woodworker made the frame, then Narda bought and cut out beautiful Bhutanese fabrics. Future dressing frames will reflect the kinds of fastening skills needed by children in Bhutan.

The room is tiny, 10 feet by 19 feet, and some of that is of course taken up by shelves. The entrance area is 6 feet by 6 feet. 15 children from just 3 to almost 4 years of age, are in this beginning class. The children first gathered in the entrance with Dendy or her assistant to sing, and one at a time were invited into the classroom, to choose either a floor mat or table mat and shown how to unfold or unroll it, then invited to choose from the shelf of link-with-the-home toys. Soon they were ready for practical life and language work, and there is much to come. We hope you will feel inspired to support this program financially so that more young children in Bhutan can benefit from a Montessori education and that the classroom can have a full complement of materials.

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