Interesting news article about the Global Montessori Games
Montessori College: connecting through sports, education and culture
Nathalie van den Heuvel
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The Montessori method has been used in education worldwide for more than a hundred years. The founder Maria Montessori was of the opinion that children can best develop when they can do this at their own pace, using their own abilities. It’s not for nothing that the most quoted quote from Maria Montessori is “Help me do it myself.”
Last Sunday 92 foreign students and their teachers from five countries arrived, namely: Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Norway and China. They are housed in pairs in the families of the 35 participating pupils of Montessori College Nijmegen and Groesbeek, for the very first edition of the Global Montessori Games (GMG). The foreign duos are mixed; in the Dutch host family the two guests also have a different nationality. The reason for this is that people do communicate into their own language, so that there is open communication in which the spoken language will be English.
Accessible contact The weekly program is well-filled and includes two sports days in which the Olympic idea predominates: having fun. For that reason the teams will not consist of individual countries, but they will also be mixed here again. In addition, no scores will be kept. The approach of the sporting activities is the acquisition of accessible contact. Ceremonial opening in the Goffert stadium Yesterday was such a day of sport, followed by a speed date event where a lot of contacts were made very quickly. In the evening the ceremonial opening took place in the business area of the Goffert Stadium, for which Mayor Bruls opened the games officially, after which each country presented itself by means of a creative performance. Subsequently, there was an exchange market where the countries were given a booth where they could share their food and drinks. By making contact in advance via the internet, close friendships had already developed between students and there were already invitations from abroad to come and visit.
Enthusiastic sponsors The enthusiasm is not only apparent from the registrations and the warm contacts, but also from the ease with which the sponsoring started. All sponsors can be found on the website of the Global Montessori Games, which was made especially for the occasion. These contributions are very diverse and very welcome. For example, Radboud University will make 100 bicycles available during this week so that guests can easily move around the city. The municipality of Nijmegen has also made a contribution from the Education department, because it warmly welcomes such initiatives. Montessori conference Sofia, Bulgaria The idea for the GMG came into being almost a year ago when Roelant, teacher at Montessori College Nijmegen, went to a Montessori conference in Sofia with colleague and also friend Jeroen. Roelant realized there that the Montessori idea facilitated contact between the different nationalities and therefore wanted to organize something specifically between international Montessori schools. Jeroen, physical education teacher introduced the idea of sport and play, since he wanted to set up a major international sporting event. Then the idea was born to combine both wishes into one big international event: The Global Montessori Games. They set up a foundation especially for the occasion together with a third member, Aiden, an English teacher from China, with whom they met at the same conference. Since then they have been working on it almost daily, in addition to their normal duties.
All participating countries were also present at that conference in Sofia at the time, and when Roelant and Jeroen presented the idea, it went like wildfire. The contacts were noted and kept warm. Lots of enthusiasm from abroad Although there is much more interest than the five countries that have applied, the organization wants to keep the number of participating countries low at first in order to increase the chance of success. The numerous daily requests for information from abroad show that the initiative is warmly received. If it turns out well then it can be set even bigger in the future. The intention is that in the future the event will be organized annually by another country. There are already several candidates. Welcome Today the students are going to soak up a day of culture in Amsterdam, but on Thursday and Friday everything will take place in Nijmegen again. For people who would like to see what international pleasure looks like: this can be viewed at the Montessori College in Nijmegen where the students have their second sports day on Thursday with a diversity of sports workshops. In addition to sports, a trip through Nijmegen is planned for Friday, the last active day before departure. The route has been mapped out by a teacher and this takes the students to all the highlights of the city. “Playing sports is part of the GMG, but they also go to Nijmegen for a day, because we also enjoy getting to know our beautiful city,” said Roelant. Lasting memory In the afternoon the students in the Goffertpark make a lasting memory of the things they have seen during this trip, such as the Mariken van Nieumeghen statue on the Grote Markt, the Waagh or the Waal bridge. In the evening, the week will then be festively closed at Montessori College with music and a DJ. Everyone involved in the Global Montessori Games hopes that Montessori College Nijmegen will be able to become acquainted with other cultures in another country during an equally exciting week next year.
Read the Dutch article including pictures by clicking here.