Montessori : Unsupervised practice at home – best experience ever!


Living with 5 other classmates turned out to be an amazing and growing experience!

Practice Montessori from home with your roommates

Even though I was shy at first and didn’t want to reveal my true colors until I got to know my roommates, in the end I think living together was one of the best choices we made.

Not only we would laugh ourselves to tears almost every night, by exchanging life stories and anecdotes from our past adventures, but also we would study together and practice whatever we couldn’t manage during supervised practice in school. 

As I told you before, in a previous article, our course had 2 blocks, each block lasted 3 months a.k.a the summer period in India.

And at the end of every block, we had exams: at the end of the first block we had a “mock exam”, which helped us understand how the actual exams are going to take place; and at the end of the second block, we had the real written and oral exams.

So, you can imagine the panic, stress and meltdowns which happened every summer, towards the end!

Prepare the Montessori presentations

One of the things we would do every night, before the exams, was to pull slips out of a box and prepare the presentation for the next day.

We would only practice at home stories, presentations with charts and timelines, and leave the presentations with other Montessori materials for supervised practice in school. 

Create your own Montessori material at home

The funniest thing I remember happening during the last weeks of the first block was us trying to figure out how to practice “The Hand Timeline” at home, without having the Hand Timeline material. We all wanted to practice telling that story, but it was kind of awkward without unrolling the actual timeline. 

So, as we were all scratching our heads and thinking of ways to manage the situation, my bladder found the solution.

I needed to go to the toilet, so I stood up and went to the bathroom and as I was doing my thing, the idea stroke me: “We could use toilet paper!”. You cannot imagine the joy in my eyes as I was exiting the bathroom, holding the winner roll of toilet paper in my hands.

And, of course, you cannot imagine the look on my roommates face when they saw me jumping like a maniac and screaming: “Toilet paper! We can use toilet paper!”.

Our artist, JV, took a pencil and grabbed the toilet paper from my hand. He counted the number of squares we would need and started drawing the hand in the middle.

All of us practiced the Hand Timeline that night and I can guarantee this would be a story our grandchildren will listen to, somewhere in the future. 

We had many moments of intense practice at home and many times we would almost burst into tears because we weren’t sure how to begin a presentation and trigger the interest of the child, but we managed to overcome every situation by supporting each other and caring for one another!

So, if you have the opportunity to take an Elementary Montessori Course and live in a house with some of your classmates, don’t hesitate and take it! You will have the time of your life!

Montessori Supervised practice – learning patience, humility and understanding


The Elementary Montessori Course is not all about theory and lectures, taking notes and learning concepts.

It is also about applying them in an actual environment by attending supervised practice.

Every day, after the lectures were over, we would divide into groups and enter Montessori classrooms, where we would “get our hands dirty” and handle actual Montessori materials. 

Learn how to present the Montessori materials

Even though India’s temperatures were not so friendly in the afternoon, our main goal was to master every presentation from the hand-outs, not only for the exams but also for our future work in our own classrooms.

So, every day we would man ourselves up, drink lots of water and went to practice. 

Because we were a large group (almost 90 people), we had to divide into 3 smaller groups (Red Group, Green Group and Blue Group) and do our practice into 3 different environments.

One of the environments was set up especially for us, with the actual materials from our hand-outs, but the other two were actual environments of children from Pebble Creek School, and some of the charts and nomenclature materials were quite different.

That was a little confusing at first, but in time we managed and things started to run smoothly. 

Experience how the child faces the Montessori materials

What I think was more valuable than the actual handling of the materials was the patience we developed.

I remember how, after the lecture of the Cube Root ended, which was somehow a little more challenging to understand only from theory, all of us raced to the assigned environments to grab the material and practice right away, while the information was still fresh in our minds.

Even though we were aware that we shouldn’t run on the stairs, we would speed up our walking and we would look behind to check if somebody else was also coming for the material.

It was even funnier when we reached the material, started working and realized that this is exactly what children do in the classroom: if they have their mind set up on a certain activity, they would do anything in their power to grab the specific materials and work. 

Another thing that came to my understanding was that when you are not confident about a presentation, you tend to avoid doing it. Exactly what children do when they don’t understand a concept and avoid working with a specific material.

I admit that I am a shy person who was always afraid of trying something new and making a mistake on the way. But, by attending the supervised practice, I starting asking my classmates for help and realized that the feeling you get when you finally understand how things work and how easy it all becomes after, is truly fulfilling.

This feeling is exactly what we should aim for our children to get, after every activity!

Share your skills in order to become a better Montessori guide

Last but not the least is the strong bond we made by all working together and not being part of the same small group every day.

We noticed how different people have different skills in different areas and how we can grow together by asking questions and listening to different points of view.

Even though sometimes we had our differences, at the end of the day we would always meet halfway and accept each other’s opinion.

And I truly believe that helped us a lot on our way of becoming the best Montessori guides for our children!

The importance of the trainer in Montessori training


I have to admit I accepted attending this Montessori course without doing too much research before.

Since I discovered the Montessori method, I constantly felt the urge to sign up for a course but every time something else came up that made me postpone this decision.

Now that I think about it, I am sure it was faith. 

Making a choice for my Montessori training

As I was saying, I didn’t research too much before saying yes to this course.

My boss came to me one day and told me that there was an opportunity for me to have my own elementary classroom, if I was willing to go to Hyderabad, India and attend the Montessori Elementary Training for 2 summers in a row.

I remember the feeling that entered my whole body: my heart started racing and my knees started shaking. I went home and talked to my family.

We made a pro and con list and decided that me being away from them for 6 months was a small price to pay for having this wonderful experience.

And we were right!

Meeting our Montessori trainer

It was only after I arrived in Hyderabad and started the foundation course, which was mandatory for the actual elementary training, that I found out more about our future trainer.

Until then, I only knew his name and that he had a lot of experience in the field.

But after talking with my classmates and hearing all the kind words they had to say about him, my curiosity was stroke. 

And on the last day of the foundation course he arrived at school and attended our small celebration. I remember looking at him, listening to his speech and thinking to myself: “How will I ever understand his Australian accent? He talks soooo fast!”. 

But the fact is, I will never forget the feeling I got when he told us that the journey we are about to start is going to change our lives forever and that it was the best decision to make. And he was right!

I always felt that the connection you make with your teacher has a great impact on your ability to learn.

And just by observing every day the joy and happiness in his eyes, when he talked about children and how important it is to follow each child’s rhythm, he made me understand that if you put passion and excitement in every Montessori presentation there is no way this method won’t work. 

The quality of our Montessori training

He showed us that patience is essential in our work and that we should not fear errors.

Usually, human beings are afraid of making mistakes, because they fear they would be laughed at.

In the whole Montessori education, the idea of mistakes being a bad thing is eliminated – even when making an error when writing on paper, you can always learn from that and give it thanks by turning it into a beautiful design! 

I am so thankful for having the chance to learn from our trainer, to understand that in this world there are no problems, only challenges for us to rise from and opportunities to make our world a better place, by guiding our tiny humans into reaching their full potential.

So, I would like to end this article by expressing my eternal gratitude to Greg MacDonald for guiding us into becoming Montessori Elementary Teachers and to promise that I would do my best to follow his valuable advices. 

What does a typical day look like at a Montessori training course?


When you get used to a routine and you keep yourself busy, time flies, days become weeks, weeks become months and before you know it, you are ready to go back home.

But getting used to that routine takes a while. 

What does a typical day look like?

We arrived at Pebble Creek Life School at around 8.30 in the morning and some of the times we did practice for half an hour, until lectures started. That’s just because it was cooler in the morning. 

First block

At 9.00 am, Greg would enter the lecture room and fill it up with his smile and positive energy.

He would start every day with a song and then go on with presentations and we would start writing or typing. It was so funny, if you stopped for a second and listen to the background sound, it was all about fans and fingers touching keyboards. 

Some days we had some issues with the sound system and the lectures started a little late. But even that was fun, watching Greg and the crew having soundchecks like we were about to attend a Metallica concert.  

Recess and second block

At 10.30 we had our first break and we would go downstairs to have some tea and biscuits. We would chat, joke, laugh and pray for no power cuts in the second lecture session. Because, yeah, power cuts were pretty often, especially in May. And a room full of 90 people, with no AC or fans, at 430C temperature is not very pleasant, even for 10 minutes. 

Hypnotized by Montessori presentations 

After the break, Greg would go on with his lectures and we would go on being amazed by everything he showed us.

I remember sitting in the second row and being hypnotized by his presentations, just like a 6 years old child. Sometimes I even got frustrated that I wasn’t in a Montessori school when I was a child and I had to go to a traditional school and learn everything, mostly by memorizing.

Actually, some of the concepts I only understood after I saw the Montessori presentations. For example, reaching the binomial formula using the Montessori Binomial Cube.

It finally made sense! And when you think I had to memorize it, just like parrots do!


At 12.30 we had one hour break, to have lunch and relax for a bit. I used to eat fast and do another 30 minutes of practice because the room was empty and I could get any material I wanted. 

After lunch, the energy for everybody was kind of low. But not for Greg. He maintained the same enthusiasm the whole day. Sometimes I wondered if he was human! But I guess, that’s what happens when you do what you love: train people to embrace Montessori. 

We, humans, were all sleepy after lunch. And you could actually see people falling asleep on their chairs, during the last part of the day. 

Afternoon: Supervised Practice of Montessori materials 

Well, 3.00 p.m was time to stand up from our lecture chairs and move to the practice room we were assigned too. Every day it was a different practice room, which wasn’t very appealing.

The room downstairs was great, it had all the materials we needed, plus AC and fans. But the two rooms upstairs, on the last floor, weren’t that good. The materials were kind of different and the heat was unbearable. There was no AC and the air was almost unbreathable.

My bottle of water would become so hot in those rooms, that I couldn’t even drink the water anymore. 

But I had to adjust and make it work. 

In practice, not only we would do presentations and assist our colleagues doing theirs, but also take care of the environment. That means, every day, after we finished doing our practice, we had to pick an Area (Geometry, Language, Music) and clean up the space: wipe the dust, arrange the materials and make sure nothing is missing.

Some of us took care of the plants, some of us moped the floors etc. We all had small tasks for each day, just like we would require children in their own environment. 

Kind of like: practice what you preach! 

Explore the Montessori materials

And that helped us a lot, because it made us explore all the materials and learn their place on the shelves. Plus, it made us feel like we were contributing to the environment that offers us the chance to practice and get better at our presentations. It was a win-win situation! 

As for practicing, it was so fun that sometimes we would just burst out laughing with tears. We would take turns in being the guide and the child, and repeat the presentations introduced to us by Greg, that very day.

Sometimes, we wouldn’t remember certain steps and make fun of each other, like saying we were asleep when he introduced that or that our mind was flying away, on a beach in Hawaii. 

Ask your questions to the Montessori trainers

We had trainers in training which were supervising us during practice, and we would bug them with all sorts of questions and unclarities. And when they were nowhere to be found, we would go looking for Greg and bug him.

Once, I looked for him in the entire school only to come back in my practice room and find out he was there the whole time, but I just didn’t see him. 

When practice was over, we would walk out of the classrooms like robots. Our only settings were: go home, take a shower, rest for an hour. But when we reached our homes, we always had the same thought: “We have so much work to do! No time for rest!”. So we sat our desks and started typing on our laptops until it was time to go to bed. 

Cause the next day, we would start all over!

Montessori : Choose your people! You will not get along with everybody!


Don’t get fooled by all the enthusiasm from my previous articles!

Going away for a course like this is not all rainbows and butterflies. Especially if you have to travel 5000 km and stay there for more than 3 months.

Yes, the Montessori Elementary Training is amazing!

Yes, you will discover things you didn’t even imagine!

Yes, your whole mentality will change and you will feel like a different person.

A Montessori training full of obstacles

But the road is full of bumps and obstacles and you have to learn how to face them.

You are responsible for your own choices and you can only rely on yourself for that matter. Even though some people will offer you their help, you can’t always count on that.

There will be moments when you will feel overwhelmed, when you will have trouble breathing and you will want to get on the first plane back home.

There will be moments when you will want to scream and shout and punch a hole into a wall! There will be days when you will feel like nothing works for you and there is no point in going on.

But those are the moments that make you stronger, that build you up and make you a better person. Those are the moments that test your patience.

Choose your people: you won’t get along with everybody!

Not all people will accept you and embrace you, just the way you are! And you will have to learn how to deal with that.

Some people will judge you on the simplest things, like the food you eat, the beer you want to have at the end of a long week of studying, the way you prefer to study (by yourself or in groups), your daily routines and even the way you dress.

You will no longer be amongst loved ones, surrounded by family and friends.

You will be surrounded by strangers.

And not all of them are interested in becoming your friends, or getting to know the real you.

Some of them will just put a tag on your face and that’s it!

Discovering different people and cultures

In the beginning you might feel offended by their reactions towards you. But after a while, you understand that we are different human beings, with different values, traditions and customs.

And you will learn how to accept the fact they are not accepting you!

You will focus only on the people who like you, who want to be around you and whom you get along with!

And it gets better. You build up strong and solid relationships. You confide in each other and sometimes share deepest and darkest thoughts with them, while stargazing on the roof of your house at midnight.

It is a tough journey but, in the end, when you count the amazing moments, the great relationships you built and the knowledge you acquired, it’s totally worth it! 

Montessori : Nothing is impossible! You just need to try


As a Montessori guide you become the key-keeper. You have to own the keys to every area that might be of interest to the child.

And you have to be ready at any time to offer the precise key to any child, when he is asking for it. 

The many areas of Montessori elementary education

So, when Greg told us that we have to introduce children to every area I got a little worried.

Because God knows I weren’t a straight A student in school and for some of the subjects I just always weaved my way through. The areas I had worries for were:

  • Geography
  • History
  • Art
  • Music

A lot to worry about, right? That’s what I thought too! 

For the first two, it was because of the way they were taught in my school: you had to memorize some numbers (years, population, surface, statistics) and names (rulers who conquered land by leading bloody battles, capitals of countries, names of rivers etc.) and if you weren’t able to memorize all of them, in the order they were introduced by the teacher, you would get bad grades and be considered a fool.  

But for art and music, it wasn’t the fact that I didn’t like them or the way they were presented to me.

I just never had a gift in drawing and I used to believe my voice was far from giving shivers down anybody’s spine. If I were to compare, I used to think I had the drawing skills of a sleepy, right-handed, three-year-old, who draws with his left hand.

And as for singing, I was sure I could make a deaf man shush me. 

Experiencing before presenting to the child

From this point of view, attending this course gave me more faith in my own strengths and abilities to improve in any area.

The fact that we sang every day, before lectures, made me more confident about my voice and made me want to practice singing more.

So, when I got back home and went to my Elementary Classroom, I wasn’t that afraid of introducing songs to children.

It came naturally! And they loved it!

The same happened with drawing. If at first, I was shy and didn’t even know where to put the pen on the paper, after doing some drawings for the course, I noticed I wasn’t that awful at it.

If I put a little effort in it and even a little feeling, my drawing would become close to “cute”!

I don’t think I’ll ever have my own gallery opened, but at least my children won’t laugh at me when I draw them the parts of a plant. 

This course has not only given me information about how to guide children in an Elementary Montessori Environment, but also made me discover abilities I didn’t know I had and made me want to improve them.

I always look for all positive aspects of every event in my life and I can honestly say, this course changed my perspective, my believes, my life! 

Montessori Training: how many questions can you ask?


When you are a trainer and have almost 90 people in front of you, it’s a risky business to say “If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me!”.

Especially if those people are future Montessori teachers, eager to find out every tiny detail about every statement you make during presentations. 

Endless questions about Montessori education

Since the first days, when we got into the theory part, into Cosmic Education and the child’s capacity to Self-Construct, people had a lot of questions and wanted to clarify a lot of aspects.

At first, it was understandable that any student taking the course would want to get every step, clearly and precise. But after a while, when after a 5 minutes presentation, we had a session of questions that lasted almost 30 minutes, things got pretty annoying.

I mean, yes, it’s everybody’s right to ask questions but what would happen if after each presentation, all 90 of us would have a question for the trainer and he would take 1 minute for each answer?

I know, that’s also a question. Oops!

Don’t misunderstand me, I had a lot of questions in my mind, during the first 3 months block.

But I didn’t need the microphone and all people’s attention for all of them, because I knew some of those doubts I could clarify later on, during break or at practice.

I knew how valuable were the lecture hours and how many beautiful things were prepared for us and I realized that if I can get the answer in other way, there’s no need to put 89 people on hold. 

Again, I don’t want to be misunderstood or thought of as the grumpy blonde lady who tries to find faults. Some of the questions asked were really good and their answers deserved to be heard by everybody. But others were really not worthy of everybody’s attention and could’ve been easily dealt with at the end of the day, during practice. 

Help me discover by myself

So, in my opinion, when you attend a course, and you have some doubts about what the trainer is presenting, think of it that way:

  • Am I really unable to discover the answer by myself?
  • Will the answer to this question benefit only me or the whole class?
  • Is it something only I didn’t understand or is it confusing for everybody?

And one more thing: we are training to become Montessori teachers! And part of the Montessori’s way of life is discovering by yourself for yourself.

So maybe the trainer isn’t supposed to give you every single hint and maybe some times you are supposed to use your mind and imagination, and figure out things on your own!

How can we expect children to be willing to do further research and discover more and more every day, if we are too lazy to do it for ourselves, and we always need right-away answers from the trainer?

Montessori Training : Happily Tired


Do you know that feeling when your eyes are hurting, you want to shut them but the things you read are so interesting that you wish you could keep them open with scotch tape? Yeah, exactly like in Tom&Jerry. That’s what I felt from the very beginning of the Montessori Elementary Course. 

Oui, exactement comme dans Tom&Jerry. C’est ce que j’ai ressenti dès le début de la formation Montessori.

A very intense Montessori training course

Our schedule was so busy that we barely got time to breathe properly but the things we were discovering were so amazing that neither of us dared to complain much.

We were like tiny robots, waking up in the morning, drinking gallons of coffee, getting dressed and reading or typing on our laptops until it was time to go to school. There, we attended the lectures, did practice and clean up the environment.

Then, we went back home, where we picked up where we left of in the morning, with the reading or typing. It was like a vicious circle, and our vice was the Montessori method! 

I remember one moment when I was writing at my desk, at our accommodation spot, and I felt a backache so I decided to stand up and move around the house for a bit. I went out of my room and I looked around at my colleagues.

They were all in the same position: sitting at the desk, with a hypnotized look on their faces, staring at the laptop’s screen, fingers moving at a constant speed and pressing on the keyboard, and from time to time you could hear them sigh.

I remember I started laughing so hard, that they stopped and looked at me like I was crazy. Mostly, I was laughing because I knew I was in the same spot few seconds behind, before I unplugged. 

And another thing I fondly recall is the way people fell asleep during class. It never happened to me, but after lunch time, if you would just turn around and take a look around the classroom, you would see at least 5 people with their eyes closed and their head falling on the side.

Some of them used to bring their laptops and type during lectures and you could hear them fall asleep, because that very second their laptop would fall from their lap. 

The first block was tiring but we were happily tired.

It’s a sort of feeling of overwhelming satisfaction that you are learning things that might help children change the future of our world.

You go to sleep at night asking yourself: “What was I thinking, coming all this way to take a course, being so far from my loved ones, my home, my routines?” but when you wake up in the morning, you are curious of what amazing new things you are about to discover and the feeling you had a night before just disappears.

You understand that it’s worth it, you smile and you say “All is well!”. 

It’s time for a new day, a new story which will lead you into becoming a Montessori guide; the best Montessori guide!

First day at a Montessori Elementary Training Course


You can’t assume how a Montessori Course is going to be just by listening to another people’s experience. You have to live it and judge on your own. That was the first conclusion I reached after the first week of our Montessori Foundation Course in Hyderabad, India.

Let me start by saying that I had the best roommates ever, who welcomed me with joy and love. And after a few days of wondering around the city with them, looking for accommodation and figuring out India’s lifestyle, we got to our first day of the course. All of us were excited and looking forward to our first class.

Discovering a great Montessori environment

My first reaction when I entered Pebble Creek School was

“Oh my God! This is what a Montessori Environment should look like!”

There was a big, green, field, where children played football, beautiful trees and flowers surrounding everything and the classrooms were spacious and simple but filled with all the Montessori materials.

We were led to our assigned classroom and asked to take a seat. I remember that I sat down, opened my notebook and with my hand (and soul) shaking,

I wrote on the upper right corner the date, just like I used to do it when I was a student in school.

Beginning of our Montessori training course

The course started with a beautiful ceremony: the amazing people who organized everything lit up some candles and did a little prayer for everybody there.

It was touching and inspiring and gave us a sort of confidence that everything will run smoothly.

Uma Ramini was our foundation course trainer and since day 1 she filled the room with peace, love and gratitude towards tiny humans and their amazing potential.

When she started talking about Montessori being a way of life and how we have to become Montessori ourselves, before even trying to guide the children, I knew I was in the right place. I was convinced that I was about to start a great journey in the Montessori world and that this method was going to change my life.

And it did!

I can barely remember how time passed that day, because I was absorbed by every word Uma said but I know that at a certain point I stopped, took a look around me and saw something even more amazing.

I wasn’t the only one starting a journey. There were 90 of us and we were all excited. Even though leaving Romania and my loved ones was pretty difficult for me, as I was gazing across the classroom, I realized I wasn’t alone after all.

I was about to enter a new family, a family filled with laughter, craziness, hard-work and will, a family capable of doing everything in its power to help you when in need.

As Greg MacDonald, our director of training, would say: I have many more stories to tell you about the beginning of the course, about our adventures in Hyderabad and about what Montessori Training is all about, but those are stories for another day!