A lot of Montessori with a little bit of Prague

After Vienna, I ventured on over to Prague, another beautiful city. It turned out that my friend from Lyon was visiting the same time that I was, so on the first day we walked around “old town” for a while, which was really interesting. The architecture is very different from that in Lyon, so I enjoyed seeing it. There are many “powder towers” around Prague, which separate the old town from the new town. The construction on the one below started in the 15th century!

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This is the Church of Our Lady before Týn, one of the biggest buildings in the old town square
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The astronomical clock on the old town hall

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The next day, I visited Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Can you see it poking up on the skyline?

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The view of the city from the castle.

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There were a lot more tourists in Prague than I expected, but one benefit of that was the abundance of Trdelnik, a delicious cinnamon sugary treat.

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One of my favorite places that we visited was the Klementinum. It used to be a Jesuit college, and is most famous for the incredible library of which we were unfortunately not allowed to take pictures, so here is the wikipedia picture.

This is the Chapel of Mirrors, which now is used to host classical concerts.

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And finally the view from the Astronomical Tower at the Klementinum. Luckily the clouds broke up a little bit for the picture.

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Everything in Prague was beautiful, but my favorite and most memorable part of the trip was visiting an international Montessori school. My sister and I both attended a Montessori school from pre-school through 6th grade, and I always enjoyed it, but I didn’t realize at the time how much of a positive impact that it had on my life. This style of teaching was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, and the older I get, the more I appreciate it. I am very grateful to have been reminded of that while in Prague. It was crazy how the visit happened, but one of my former teachers, has a friend who lives and teaches in Prague, and she took the time to give me tour of the school.

It was so incredible to see another Montessori classroom because I hadn’t seen one since being at Rose Hill, but I immediately felt at home. There is so much that I love about the Montessori Method, and unfortunately I had kind of forgotten that until I visited this school in Prague. By revisiting the classrooms, I realized how much each aspect of the Montessori layout shaped me in who I am today. For example, Montessori students have a certain amount of “work time” where they are able to choose what activities or lessons they would like to work on, and I think that freedom really helped me to foster my curiosity and to learn how to entertain myself, skills that I still use today. Another example is the presence of so many world maps, which I believe helps students to be more open-minded and to think more empathetically. The Montessori school in Prague also had a class constitution – a behavioral guide that I remember working on with my classmates at the beginning of every school year, and now I realize how much that constitution really helped to shape the way that I choose to conduct myself in (and out) of the classroom.

My time at Montessori helped me not only to be more self-driven and independent, but it is where a lot of my social skills developed, and where I learned to be a functioning member of a group. I learned how to articulate myself with confidence and to think critically all the while fostering a love of learning and maintaining a curious nature. It taught me to respect not just the people, but the world around me. I really can’t say enough good things about this style of teaching and how much I believe in it. If you are interested, I linked below an informational video as well as the websites for the two schools that I mentioned.

http://www.rosehillmontessori.com 

http://www.montessori.cz/website/mainmenu/homepage/

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