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 am one of the administrators at The House of Youth. I 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.
Rens van Lieshout
Ever since I have started my university study to become a teacher, ten years ago, I have moved in a direction that is more and more child-centred, as I believe education is supposed to be made for the student and should inspire them, as well as help them grow and reach their potential. This is why, as an international teacher, I have pursued a mission and vision that reflects this important focus. After having taught in Mexico and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as completed a traineeship in Finland, I started looking into Montessori education, as I believed this is another step forward towards student-driven education. The more I learned about it, the more I found that it allowed for a healthy balance between academics and life skills. This spoke to me, and made me not hesitate about joining this community, as I wanted to contribute to this inclusive environment that is made by the guides and students together. Beyond education, I am interested in history, especially topics related to Ancient history and the Middle Ages. I like to play a wide variety of board/card/video games and enjoy going for a walk or a bike ride. I also thoroughly enjoy the company of my cat Lu.
Growing up, I was always seeking knowledge and trying to find out the best ways to do things. I had life questions that people couldn’t answer. After getting my high school degree, I stepped into a world that I didn’t know, a place where I needed to decide on a long term future plan. I did make choices back then, but there was something missing that I didn’t have as a newborn adult.
After many tries, I found success in different ways, I had versatile education and work experiences, I earned a bachelor’s degree in web technology, and another one in library science. I also worked a kid’s club manager, an assistant in a United Nations training programme and many other short experiences in international environments.
The reason my choices were so different is that I was trying to find my purpose in life, and with my experiences, I realised that I have an interest in pedagogy, self-expression and child psychology. Following these elements guided me to education, where destiny led me to a new path of life: Montessori’s approach.
When I first observed the children in the Montessori environment, I felt inside something familiar. Watching them being themselves, thinking about what they have and what they need was something that spoke to me more than anything else. Something that I couldn’t find anywhere else before.
Knowing I had found what I want, I dove into the way Montessori pedagogy works, and it made me realise that this is the missing piece I was looking for. A real pedagogy that uses human nature to teach children how to be successful adults. Therefore, I chose to follow this pedagogy and become a part of its community. I teach Arabic at the House of Youth.
Enseignante dès le plus jeune âge au sein ma sororie , je me passionne pour l'éducation depuis un certain nombre d'années.
Diplômée d'un master en Sciences de l'éducation, mon parcours à connu son premier tournant. Entrée en licence dans le but de devenir professeur des écoles, l'ensemble des connaissances et des expériences vécues pendant ces trois premières années ont révélé le non sens de l'instruction traditionnelle, pour les enfants, comme pour moi en tant qu'enseignante. Après un an de voyage autour du monde pour comprendre quel est alors mon rôle dans ce monde, j'ai entamé un Master de recherche et de professionnalisation en Sciences de L'éducation à l'Université de Caen.
Je désire maintenant comprendre comment la pédagogie est un principe éducatif et instructif qui demande une adaptation permanente à son contexte d'implémentation. J'entends par ici que toute inspiration pédagogique, peu importe le modèle ou la méthode, nécessite d'être taillé sur mesure, en fonction des moyens disponibles et des contraintes de l'environnement. Pour comprendre les leviers de l'adaptation pédagogique, je parcours les écoles alternatives.
Sur cette route à la découverte des écoles alternatives, s'est présentée à moi École Montessori Casablanca. Je suis honorée d'avoir la chance de travailler dans cet environnement riche d'apprentissages. J'ai saisi cette chance de la vie pour approfondir ma posture d'éducatrice, affiner ma perception de la pédagogie Montessori, travailler en équipe autour d'un projet éducatif commun et surtout observer des enfants se développant selon cette méthode unique. Pour me préparer au mieux à accompagner les enfants dans cet environnement éducatif minutieux, j'ai eu la chance d'être formée par AMI (Lesley-Ann entre autres!).
Au delà de l'éducation, je suis passionnée par l'humanité. J'aime nous observer dans notre relation avec notre environnement : la manière dont on interagit les uns avec les autres. Et plus récemment, je me passionne pour la relation de l'Homme avec l'animal.
Les pratiques du Reiki, du yoga, de l'écriture et de la peinture sont sources d'introspection. L'équitation, la danse et le surf façonnent mon rapport au corps. La lecture et le voyage cultivent mes questionnement et mon intérêt pour la vie.
I graduated in English Literature and shortly after I obtained a computer networking and administration diploma. After a few years of experience, I realized that this does not express me, and I started experimenting with different job fields. I went through many jobs, learned many skills, and trained myself to survive in a sustainable way while finding a balance in life.
I started working with an NGO for children in a remote forest area of Kerala, India. We would stay in their village and teach them the basics of English, introduced them to different music and instruments, and did arts and crafts, farming and harvesting. During this time I discovered how beautiful working with children can be.
When I understood how music can heal people and change their emotions, I got my teacher training in Yoga and Ayurvedic Panjakarma, combining my life passion for Ancient and Aboriginal music with a holistic wellness approach.
People will cross our paths with different messages. My life partner joined my journey with the wisdom of Dr. Maria Montessori and more pieces of my life came in place. I got my Montessori training from AMI and I was ready to help the children learn by themselves, teach them that we are not separate from nature, we are the nature.
As doctor Montessori puts it, "The land is where our roots are; the children must be taught to feel and to live in harmony with the earth and nature".
I landed in this beautiful land -Morocco- and with this Montessori family. I learned more and more about Montessori, about children and their needs. I worked with the Primary environment for two years and I can see how similar those two planes of development, Primary and Adolescents, really are.
Erdkinder means children of the land. They are learning about the civilization through its origin agriculture. The skills I gained on my life journey shall be shared and that's why I am here.
For 25 years, I worked in the shipping industry. It seems the natural thing to do after I graduated from college with a foreign trade and logistics degree. But since sports were always my passion, I decided to shift at age 44.
I founded the Phoenix Studio where I organize sports sessions for adults and children as well as camps, seminars etc.
I started working with EMC three years ago, and since then, I teach sports skills and help the students to nourish their team spirit.
I am a father of two young boys, whom I love to surf, skate and practice sports with. I am also very interested in nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Je n'ai pas fini d'affectionner les traces sur les murs laissées par les passants et surtout les enfants pour lesquels "leur" rue a été un espace de jeu et de vie. Les murs portent le témoignage de différentes générations qui ont laissé leurs marques, leurs colères, leurs amours et au moins ce geste circulaire que la main reconnaît spontanément. Toute cette mémoire va constituer le fond de la toile sur laquelle je peindrai les jeux des enfants de sa rue : du carré six (marelle) à la dama (jeux de dames), de la trottinette au vélo, de la voiture au train et à l'avion en passant par le cerf volant, zaaloula (balançoire), derija... et aussi la chaise et l'échelle me permettaient d'escalader les murs dans les quartiers de Bernoussi et Hay Mohammadi où j'ai grandi. Depuis toujours, je travaille et ai travaillé sur le thème "du mur" et déjà en 1970, j'avais réalisé une performance au vieux port de Marseille, en installant une grande toile sur le quai, avec pour fond, un mur sur lequel les passants étaient invités à laisser une trace, leur trace. Je suis lauréat des Beaux Arts de Casablanca et de Marseille, et j'ai vécu en Italie pendant plus de sept années où j'ai été très fortement influencé par l'oeuvre de Burri. J'expose depuis 1977 et ai participé à plusieurs rencontres culturelles internationales. Mes oeuvres font partie de collections publiques et privées, et vous en verrez beaucoup à EMC, que ce soit à Californie, au CIL ou à HoY.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org