Montessori Global Education Awards 2023:
Celebrating Education for Social Change
This year, the awards had a special focus on social change initiatives and particularly,
projects making positive difference in their communities across the globe.
We are proud to announce the recipients as part of our annual Montessori Global Education Awards, which have recognised individuals and organisations working to promote excellence in education, to positively effect social change in their surroundings.
Inspiring submissions were received from around the world, with the Nominations Panel consisting of Montessori Supporters, Champions, and Trustees, awarding specific projects that promote inclusivity and diversity based on a Montessori-inspired approach.
The Secret Forest Society, Croatia, Playhood, UK and help2read, South Africa; were all awarded an Impact and Change Award for promoting positive change through their activities. The focus of Montessori Global Education has always been on the social impact that high-quality educational practice can have on the life of children, families, and wider communities; these awards demonstrate the significance of our work.
Nadja Matesic from Udruga IKS in Croatia – which was awarded 2022’s Impact and Change Award – was a lead judge for the 2023 Awards.
She commented “I’m thrilled and honoured to see such a variety of different organisations, grassroots initiatives and individuals working towards the same goal, which is making this world a better place… I congratulate you on the inspiring work you’ve been doing, each in your own environment”
Ana Zubak, Project Manager, Secret Forest Society said:
“All the activities we design for children in the forest during our workshops enhance their self-confidence, teach them to overcome life challenges, and stimulate their creativity. we could not have imagined it would be recognised through this award and highlighted as relevant to the application of Montessori principles.”
Help2read, South Africa, has been recognised for their work tackling the literacy crisis they face across their country.
Sheila Bailey, at Help2Read said:
“Our holistic approach to education means that our students and our tutors are on a path to improve their education, their personal development and ultimately their lives. Communities are strengthened through education, and we are proud to be a part of that in South Africa’s townships.”
Also receiving their award is Playhood, UK, who take the Montessori principle of ‘following the child’ to the next level, by ‘following the family’. Their partnership between guides and parents is gaining global recognition as it has reportedly transformed the lives of 12 London families over the last three years. It offers an exciting template for other settings to adapt and use moving forward.
Karen Partridge, Playhood Director said:
“The Playhood team is thrilled to receive recognition in the area of Montessori-led social change because having a positive impact on our community is our entire reason for being. Supporting parents in their child’s all-important early years, with a dynamic altered by the experience of the pandemic, has been a process we’ve experimented with and honed into a model for all settings to take inspiration from. The wellbeing of children goes hand-in-hand with how their families and educators learn and grow together. We look forward to sharing our case study and collaborating with the Montessori global community further.”
Special Recognition Awards for Innovation Development were also awarded to the Zaklada Solidarna, Breza Association and Iver Elementary School in Croatia, along with The Zaklada Solidarna, also in Croatia, who was acknowledged for its project KRIK – Crisis and Creativity, an initiative supporting mental health protection through artistic content since 2021. The project’s initiator, Karla Pudar, considers this recognition an excellent affirmation that they are moving in the right direction when it comes to influencing society’s collective recovery.
“The project is a result of observing a genuine societal need, recognising the benefits that creative expression brings to mental health, and understanding the power of art, this recognition is an important indicator that we are on the right path,” emphasised Pudar.
The Breza Association, an organisation working primarily on the integration of children without proper parental care, also received special recognition for the Land without Borders festival. For many years, the festival has encouraged children to engage in creative expression and participate in art.
“Land without Borders is a project we are particularly proud of, as it has grown with us for nearly 20 years. We strongly believe that by encouraging children’s creativity and the acquisition of new artistic skills, we promote their socio-emotional learning and prepare them to approach life’s challenges innovatively.” highlighted Suzana Vargović, president of the Breza Association.
Among the recognised organisations was also Iver Elementary School, Croatia for their culinary workshops, although the workshops were open to all, one of the goals was to involve children with behavioural difficulties, and this approach proved to be most effective for them.
“Through this project, we achieved a sense of unity, value, and encourage creativity in children. The greatest success is the acceptance of diversity among children, regardless of the fact that nowadays differences often can lead to exclusion,” reflected Katarina Rajković, the school principal.