SMDers Train in Montessori Method at Navadisha Montessori Institute, India
October 2011 by Shirley Blair, Director of SMD School, Nepal
Nanu Maya B153 & Ani Thinley Chokyi N174
In August 2011, two SMDers started teacher training in Montessori Method. Nanu and Ani TC are doing the 1 year programme for Montessori certification (ages 3 - 6) at the Navadisha Montessori Institute in Chennai, India. This exciting initiative came about thanks to Riza and Lyle from Canada who are long-term supporters of Thrangu Rinpoche’s schools and strong proponents of the Montessori method. A Montessori teacher herself, Riza is the founder of Lion’s Gate Montessori schools in Vancouver. The children and teachers at Anchor Point Elementary have been sponsoring an SMD boarder for several years.
Teaching standards in Nepal leave much to be desired. The donors had long been talking about how to help Thrangu Rinpoche’s school and when they hit upon the notion of teacher training, we jumped at it. They offered to fund a training programme for two young women at the Navadisha Montessori Institute (NMI) in Chennai, India. They are funding their education and their boarding in hostel.
In discussion with our then Principal, Khenpo Chonyi Rangdrol (now the abbott at the nunnery) and Jhabindra (aka Karma Tsering) our Vice Principal in charge of Academics, we decided it would benefit Thrangu Rinpoche’s aims if a laywoman and a nun were to get training. Nanu Maya Shrestha and Ani Thinley Chokyi were the two who were chosen.
Nanu graduated from SMD two years ago, and then was selected as a “Senior”, one of the grads we
elected to keep with us at SMD. This is the only way our students can access Grades 11 & 12 which are a prerequisite for most higher studies.
Although there are many schools in Nepal that advertise themselves as “Montessori”, they are not authentic Montessori Method schools. The Navadisha Montessori Foundation is in South-Eastern India was chosen as it is affiliated with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and offers a full range of courses.
NMI instructors, Rukkumini and Ruby Skype interviewed Nanu and Ani TC and decided to accept both. It was a bit of a scramble, but on August 2nd, the two young women set off for Chennai (by air to Delhi and then by train to Chennai) with one of our teachers, Tenzin Palzom, as their chaperone. It was the first time for both students to be out of Nepal, to take a plane and to ride in a train.
Ani TC and Nanu Maya are staying in a Hostel near NMI. They report that the study is challenging (so much work, so much writing!) but they are enjoying it.
Future Montessori Teachers
Nanumaya Shrestha B153 Ani Thinley Chokyi N174