It was a total delight to visit Alpha Montessori this past April. The first class of nine students just graduated in an emotional and inspiring ceremony. (See photos below or watch the ceremony here.) Many of these children started in the very early days of the school when Alpha Montessori was not much more than a concept, a vision of what education could bring. Yet all have now been accepted into English medium upper schools, a fantastic accomplishment. They are stunning examples of how confident, competent, self-directed, and articulate Montessori children can become, regardless of background. The students presented individually chosen and researched capstone projects. Some of the ones I saw included a model of the eye, a demonstration of how electrical currents run a lightbulb, countries of the United Nations, different types of levers, and the ecology of rain harvesting. What a thrill to have been able to work with these students for even a short period of time.
The rooftop garden, launched in late 2013 with help from AWA’s ‘Glimpses of Asia’ donation, is now in full bloom. The space is now lush and inviting and working with the plants provides a magnificent hands-on activity for the children, something especially welcome in this packed corner of urban Delhi.
A computer lab with six well-functioning laptops is up and running and all the elementary children are learning a range of computer skills. Ms. Vel Hulton, a dedicated and skilled volunteer from Seattle, has been coming twice a year for a month to guide the children. She has been instrumental in teaching them keyboard skills, word processing, and the foundations of drawing and other programs.
Slowly the rest of the building is taking shape as well, with an art room well under way. The next challenge will be to continue the educational progress without the ‘founding’ children. In Montessori schools especially, those first groups of students are often unusually dedicated and play an instrumental role with the younger children, so there are big shoes to fill when they move on.
I look forward to seeing some new students – but with the same familiar teachers – this fall.