I came to Grata as an experienced mother with my fourth son. There was no intention to dive into the Montessori system, we just needed a nice kindergarten nearby. My friends recommended "Toddler" class. Entering this school changed our lives and my ideas about child-rearing. My youngest child started training at 15 months, and by the age of 2 he was quite free to eat independently, go to toilet and wash his hands, dress, communicate with other children. Teachers taught us to treat the baby as a mature person, with respect, understanding, without mildness and parentese, and this brought impressive results for his development. The school uses a systematic approach. Usually, a kindergarten means child-minding and entertainment, with a certain level of infrastructure and food. It doesn't work that way here. Every minute of time in the classroom is meaningful for a child, every action of the teacher is a contribution to the great work of educating a healthy independent Personality. Every day I get oral or written information about my son's day, not in the format of "you have such a wonderful boy", but structurally, namely of what he did, what he was interested in, the progress he demonstrated and the best support for him at home. Many parents argue that it is more profitable and reasonable to invite a nanny to a child, and I also had this idea initially: after all, the nanny would be with my baby only, and it is more convenient. It is necessary to understand that these are fundamentally different things: at Grata, not only highly qualified Montessori teachers work with the child, but the environment meets the needs of children to the maximum as well. Teachers have enough skills and patience not to dress and feed children, but to show how to do it themselves and wait for children to do it with pleasure.
When we came to Grata, we joined a friendly community of like-minded families, voluntarily and actively involved in school life, which was also a discovery. It turns to be like that. We come to tea parties with a psychologist and teachers, discuss similar problems, and share our experience. There are regular seminars, picnics and other interesting events, and a parents ' meeting is a holiday where you meet with friends and can get support.
School environment inspired us to make a serious decision and take our first-grader son from the classical school to here. We had a lot of worries: what kind of studies it was without desks and lessons with homework, how to monitor the progress, what would happen without handwriting worksheets and rote learning. In our case, the son felt so much uncomfortable at his old school that just one thing was obvious: it would not get worse. At least at home we would forget about every day hysteric in the evening and suffering of the child in the morning. Now I can say for sure that the choice of the Montessori education is the choice in favor of the child, his interests and his personal fulfillment. It is not a victory in the eternal race of parents to make their child more "successful" (more excellent marks, diplomas and books read). No, it is not. It is a friendly environment, unconditional acceptance, creating conditions for harmonious development of a person at his own pace and direction. I think it's better to see once the children's working day. The school gives all parents the opportunity to come and observe. You are always welcome here, and this is an opportunity for children to learn how to entertain guests in the classroom.
My son studies in class 6-12 for a little more than a year, and this time was quiet and joyful for him and our family. There was no grumbling and discontent in the morning, no tears in the evening. He talks enthusiastically about interesting things that he learned during the day, made friends with the guys, and they come up with something and study it together. Even in difficult times of self-isolation, the school organized the educational process as much as possible in the spirit of Montessori, exciting and attentive to the needs of children. It is especially important for me that the child learns to understand what he wants personally (not his parents, teachers, or the state), and gets full support in this. In general, I think that we were very lucky to get to this school, and with our older children we are just sorry that it did not happen earlier.
We are an Akarsu family, and like any other family, we have a history of choosing a school for children. The only facilitating fact was knowing for sure that this would be a school working under the system of Maria Montessori. Why? - It is because we got acquainted with the principle of working and teaching children in this system by chance, and we brought our eldest son (he was one and a half years old at that time) to the Toddler group and were delighted with what we saw: every child was busy, no one interfered with him, but they were happy to help once he asked for that, and the most important is that all the rules here are based on respect!
While changing cities and countries, we always looked for a kindergarten, a studio, or just a Montessori group for our son. During this time, we have seen many different teachers, assistants, and classes, and we have something to make comparison with. When it was time to look for a place to enter the 1st grade, we did not hesitate to search for a Montessori school. After numerous visits to different schools, we came for the Doors Open Day in Grata, where our eldest son Yunus eventually started to study. He came as a prep pupil to the Elementary class, and this year graduated from the 1st grade. Our youngest son Yusuf (now 4 and a half years old) completed his first year of study in the Casa dei Bambini class in Grata in the same year.
There is a huge selection of schools that work according to our favorite Montessori system nowadays, and it is very difficult to make a choice. The crucial moment for us was meeting Svetlana Chashnikova, the founder of the Grata school. Svetlana is not just the founder of the school, she is an AMI teacher, working in the Elementary class. She can talk about each child for hours, and at the same time never compare him with any of his classmates, she notices things that do not catch the eyes of parents (it turned out, that our son really needs physical activity in the morning, after which it is easier for him to get involved in the educational process).
Plus, our choice was influenced by the fact that children of almost all employees study at Grata. Some children came to class "3-6" and now continue to study in "6-12", and somebody was lucky to pass all three stages: Toddler, Casa-de-Bambini, and Elementary!
It is of no little interest that the school deals not only with our children, but also with us, parents. They have training seminars, conferences with teachers, meetings with a psychologist for us. We all study together: children, teachers, parents.
Previously, children's hysterics scared and blocked me, I did not know what to do when a child screamed and got angry over nothing. Just after a couple of school seminars and a living room talk with Elena Snarskaya (school psychologist) I know how to "put out any fire": time when you just need to listen and wait, and time to hug and kiss or say the magic word "stop" confidentially.
During the new academic year, our boys will continue to study at the Grata school, and we will simultaneously lean into the world of Montessori, as there is still a lot to learn.
Our son came to school after a Montessori garden at the age of 6. We thought it would be for one year, but after a couple of months of training, we realized that it is for a long time. It is a joy to see a child studying with great desire, the enthusiasm he has while preparing his projects, being full of ideas. We value a lot that this school supports him in his natural desire to acquire knowledge. We see that he expresses his thoughts freely, with no fear to tell his point of view, while the opinion of teachers remains authoritative. We are also grateful to the school for all the activities that are held for parents of schoolchildren. This is a great support and inspiration for us. Teachers are always open to dialogue and ready to answer all questions, and observations make it possible to get acquainted with the process itself. The way, the staff of our school maintain a working, creative and kind atmosphere in the classroom, is a miracle for me.