Blooming Child pre-school opened in Sarajevo in September 2008 with around 50 children. Blooming Child primary school followed quickly in September 2009. The first two years, teachers and management relied heavily on the expertise of an in-house trainer, Florencia Rodriguez, who lovingly shared her knowledge and passion for the Montessori Philosophy and Method. Florencia initiated the school s first contact with MCI, discussing our progress with Barbara Isaacs whenever she was in London. It was very reassuring to know that we could turn to Mrs Isaacs with our questions and that we were not completely on our own.
The beginning years were hard and very intense. We were building the school from scratch and learning every step of the way. Local bureaucracy was a nightmare. We needed to earn the parentstrust and educate them at the same time. Quality educational resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina were scarce. Montessori material and books had to be imported at huge cost. Training was not available either. And it was not easy to find English speaking teachers.
The biggest challenge of all was to build the right team. We needed people who had enough open-mindedness, were passionate, committed and able to take risks. We needed most of all people who were ready to accept a radical shift in their mind-set and work very hard in unknown territory. All that with no local Montessori expertise and such a tight budget that many of us were working on a voluntary basis. During the first two years, the school loss was covered by private funds. It was a huge leap of faith.
From the very beginning, I knew that Florencia s commitment could not exceed two years. But when she left, I didn t sleep for weeks. How could the school move forward without her knowledge and dedication? How could we consolidate our young experience and continue to develop a strong and solid foundation for the future?
All this was for my children. I wanted them to have a different educational experience and I was determined to achieve my goal. The dream had come true and many families had started to believe in it. But I couldn t do this on my own. The school needed to become part of some larger organization or network. We needed to find a group of people that would continue to challenge us and lead us towards excellence and quality.
In autumn 2010, I decided to write to Barbara Isaacs telling her I wanted to be accredited and that I needed help to prepare the school towards this goal. Mrs Isaacs wrote back very quickly with wonderful news. One of UK s top Montessori experts, Mrs Wendy Compson was available to come for a week long visit to Blooming Child. Mrs. Compson arrived in April 2011. How excited but oh so stressed we all were. Little did we know that this was the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would create heartfelt bonds and lead to Blooming Child s accreditation in June 2013.
We are extremely proud to have become an official member of the MEAB family and we are eternally grateful to Wendy Compson and Barbara Isaacs for nurturing us and believing in our commitment. Blooming Child is also their baby.