Hello, my name is Courtney Reim. I completed the Primary Training at MTCNE with Gretchen Hall in 2012. I was a career changer and as is common, regardless of that status, the training was transformational. The etymological definition of education, to “bring forth what is within” finally made sense. In 2015 I attended the Refresher Course and I discovered the Educateurs sans Frontiers. My personal work and interests were aligned, and I was hopeful that I would get an opportunity to attend an Assembly.
In August of 2018 I had the privilege of attending the 6th Educateurs sans Frontiers Assembly held at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, South Africa as a representative from the Center for Montessori Studies at the University of Hartford. The theme of the 6th EsF Assembly was Strengthening Communities for a Sustainable Future. I joined approximately 94 individuals from around the world for the 2-week Assembly as an active participant: listening to presentations, reading a selection of Montessori writings, and sharing personal experiences as we all explored the reality of “Montessori education for social change.”
On the first full day the 3 pillars of the AMI global strategy, Legacy, Capacity and Outreach, were shared with the participants. Embedded in the ongoing conversation is the intention and action to bring authentic Montessori to everyone, not a just a select few. This is big work. A primary guiding question offered up by Lynne Lawrence at the close of the first day was, “Who are you and what do you need?” I can still hear her voice and sense the feeling of waiting for an answer from beyond the walls as we sat, gathered in the main hall at the Sustainability Institute.
As a trained AMI Primary guide, I cannot help but mention the thoughtfully prepared environment and schedule the Assembly participants were welcomed into. The daily routine was intense at first, though we all found our own rhythm within the larger group. We experienced “freedom within limits” during the two-week Assembly. Many of the participants, my new friends, commented at the close of the Assembly that they had never experienced such “peace and respect” among adults for such a length of time.
I thank AMI-EsF for their vision, the Indaba team and the Sustainability Institute for helping prepare the environment and making the 6th EsF Assembly and all the memories possible. I cannot help but sense that Maria is smiling…she has shared a secret of life, her life’s work, and those of us who have experienced the transformation of the child, the adolescent or the adult using her pedagogical methods and insights must share our experiences with others as those of us endeavor to educate for peace, potential, and a sustainable future.
The two-weeks were packed full of activities: community work, reading sessions, thoughtful presentations and workshops. The keynote address was made by Philip O’Brien, the President of the AMI. He shared the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation underscored for me the reality that the 4th Sustainable Development Goal is the keystone holding together the other 16 goals. The 4th SDG states, “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. It is impossible to share everything here, though the presentations made during the 2 weeks are accessible via the EsF 2018 Assembly website on behalf of the Assembly participants who have shared their important work for the greater good.
I do encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about Educators sans Frontiers to join the Educateurs at the next AMI Refresher Course or to inquire via the web at https://montessori-esf.org/
“Educateurs sans Frontières, a division of AMI, functions as a social movement that strives to promote the rights of the child throughout the world, irrespective of race, religion, political and social beliefs. EsF is committed to transcending borders in order to serve children through innovative educational initiatives using Montessori principles and practices.” (source: www.montessori-esf.org/what-is-esf/educateurs-sans-frontières)