The House of Youth
Natus Ad Majora
My journey with Montessori started back in 2006, when I was pregnant with my first child. I found myself questioning how I would raise my own children. I had previously attended Brown University, where I had experienced the virtues of liberal education. I therefore embraced Montessori’s unconventional educational approach, as its peaceful values and logical structure resonated with me. I discovered a brilliant human code, engineered by Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observation of the natural development of the human being.
At first, I was disappointed there were no Montessori schools in my region. But I soon realized I had found a passion. This drove me to take on the challenge of establishing and leading the first authentic Montessori school in Morocco, Ecole Montessori Casablanca, which welcomed its first young children in 2011. Our vision is to build a genuine community that is guided by Montessori values of respect, hard work, harmonious collaboration, and diversity as a strength. I am thankful for the amazing dedication of our staff, and the immeasurable support of our parents.
EMC is designed to provide an integrated, holistic education that inspires its youth to find their place in society. My ambition is to inspire us all to break the codes, this is how we can have impact on ourselves, and on our greater community. I co-founded Association Montessori Morocco and Montessori Institute of Morocco, which offered the first AMI primary course on the African continent in 2018.
As an administrator at the House of Youth, I am responsible for gathering a team of passionate human beings that will create an environment that is safe, reflective, and stimulating. My hope is that this youth does not aspire to go to a prestigious university only for the sake of filling their transcript, but of gaining the knowledge and experience that will serve their found purpose in life. No life is a common life, we are all born for greater things.
Today, I am proud to have sewn the passion for Montessori in Morocco. I would like to honor the brilliant mind of Dr. Maria Montessori as the genius seed of our movement, and invite you to join our pathway to peace. I am an AMI educator, mother of two Montessori children, and thrive in challenge and adventure. In my free time, I enjoy volley-ball, padel-tennis, and learning to surf with my children, as well as playing cards and improving my chess skills.
Leïla Ouarrak Sfez
As we get caught up in the tumultuous rhythm of modern life, we rarely allow ourselves a moment to step back, pause and observe the world around us. Taking the time to examine the components of our society - its nature, its actors, its norms, its expectations - is giving ourselves time to reflect and make room for change.
This pause, this moment of self-observation, came to me as a necessity after the birth of my first child.
After studying Business and Art, my first work experience was in designing living spaces for children and creating adapted furniture for them. Then the need to connect with my new identity as a parent led me to the world of psychology, and more precisely, to the world of education and parenting. This experience naturally took me to the works of Dr. Maria Montessori. Every piece I read echoed my values and the way I envisioned my children's education. The choice of this philosophy of life appeared to me as a natural continuation for myself and for my family.
With this in mind, I joined EMC in 2011 as Director of Communication and Development.
In 2016, I co-founded Association Montessori Morocco and its training center: Montessori Institute of Morocco, and obtained the AMI diploma of Educator.
Every day at work is dedicated to Human Development, from early childhood to adulthood, starting with oneself. In this learning environment, I am inspired by the children's flexibility, their creativity, their enthusiasm, their initiative and their positivity. They are a daily source of energy and motivation.
I have been fortunate to witness the growth of our very first students, who are now young adults, and my hope is to see them flourish in their new environment, The House of Youth.
I will be one of the administrators at The House of Youth, and will contribute to develop this project on various aspects- administrative and pedagogical- in order to support our young people in their efforts to become the best version of themselves.
I am a mother of two Montessori children, and when I am not working, I like to join my family in their passions, which are drawing, singing, playing music, and sustainable gardening. I also enjoy practicing Yoga and Fitness, interior design and arts & crafts.
Lesley-Ann Patrick is a graduate from the University of London and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Cambridge. She has been a Montessori teacher since 1988 and has worked with children from 3 to 18 years in the United Kingdom, Sweden, India and France. The past few years were shared between mentoring Adolescent Communities in France and in India. Lesley-Ann is also a qualified Active Birth teacher, herbalist and doula, and has been working with parents, babies and toddlers. Her African childhood awakened a desire to serve other communities, and for several years she has been involved in a Montessori project in India, a country she also visits with her family. She is the mother of six Montessori children.
Lesley-Ann is bringing her adolescent expertise to The House of Youth. She is working on establishing the curriculum and program, as well as mentoring and coordinating the team.
In today’s world, one can easily vacillate between despair and hope, but through my work as an educator, I have been able to focus on hope and potential. Originally a traditional high school math and physics teacher in the US, I made the shift to being an elementary Montessori guide, a decision that has had an enormous impact on my life. As a Montessori guide, I love watching children come into their own when they are given freedom and inspiration. This is where hope lies.
I come from Ohio in the US and have taught in Ohio as well as on both the East and West Coast. But over the years I have also lived and worked in a number of developing countries in the field of education, including Nepal, Morocco, Lesotho and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, 17 years ago I co-founded an orphanage based on Montessori principles. (It is still in operation.) I felt that, while education is important, the traditional view of education that focuses on knowledge and skills is not sufficient, and instead, true education means offering a comprehensive and wise approach to life and this was what the orphaned children needed. I felt that Montessori education offers such an education for the heart as well as the mind, and in fact this is what all children need.
Over the years I have increasingly come to realize the depth, potential, and joy that is found in Montessori education. I am particularly interested in the development of self-awareness in the children, and also in the power of the Montessori approach for adults as well.
I am excited to be a part of the team developing the House of Youth program at EMC, which will provide a rich and natural environment for the powerful energy of the adolescent.
In my free time I am an avid yoga practitioner, I enjoy playing music, dabbling in painting and sketching, taking long walks, exploring languages, and watching soccer.
JOIN THE SPIRIT!
Creating something great requires great people, and we are always on the lookout for brilliant minds to join our team! We are big believers in the power of diverse thinking, and will never underestimate the importance of an inclusive, creative, and fun work place.
You are passionate about music, art, design, gardening, science, cooking, astrology, robotics, wood work, crafts, photography, and the list can go on... at Ecole Montessori Casablanca, it's not about teaching, it's about having the power to inspire our young adults. This is how we impact.
Are you ready to build the future with us? Let's meet on