In 2006, the Global Concepts International School, founded ten years earlier, moved to a new location in the quiet Šárka valley, but its basic philosophy still remains the same, says Alana Kamula: “helping all of the children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace.” While the school does utilize the essentials of the Montessori philosophy, Kamula, lead teacher of the primary children and co-owner of the school, emphasizes that the school is also very much a relaxed, “home away from home” kind of environment, something different from other private schools.
“Our mission is to have happy and confident children who will develop with a healthy awareness and appreciation of others and the environment. A classroom whose children have varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes,” Kamula adds.
When it first opened, the school only offered a program for primary school aged children, but since then has added a highly popular infant and toddler program. Currently, the student body of 50 children ranges in age from eight months to five years.
The children at this private international school hail from all parts of the world, largely from Europe but some also from the US, Mexico, India, Israel, Korea, and more. Most families come from the Prague 6 area and surrounding suburbs.
To guide the way for this group of children is a staff of eight qualified teachers. All teachers, in addition to holding international diplomas, are Montessori trained, meaning they have studied the Montessori method in a two-year-long certification course.
During a typical morning at Global Concepts, children work at their own leisure on a large assortment of Montessori activities. Later, as part of the afternoon enrichment program, the students are able to participate in a wide variety of engaging activities, such as music and movement, horse back riding, animal care, pottery, swimming, climbing and cooking.
Nourishing the body as well as the mind is also important at Global Concepts, so the school´s nutritionist makes sure to provide bio snacks from Country Life and offers up an intriguing menu that includes Italian, Thai and Indian food on a regular basis.
As the school is now peacefully situated in a newly reconstructed villa with natural surroundings, the facilities available to the children are designed to complement the Montessori education. Kamula points out that the soothing color scheme and cozy child-sized furniture add to the school´s integral concept of “home away from home” for the child. In addition to a kitchen, library, playroom and art studio with a pottery oven, Kamula adds that “the spacious sunlit classrooms, each with its own patio, are outfitted with materials designed to capture the attention of the children and guide them through developmentally appropriate educational concepts.” Outdoors, the students can enjoy a “beautiful garden with apple trees and plants, a small farmstead with live animals, areas for nature study and playground equipment.” And for the adults, there is of course a parking facility.
For the upcoming school year, Kamula explains that parents and children can look forward to “a Montessori workshop with an A.M.I (Association Montessori Internationale) accredited lecturer, orientation week for new families and a book club, which fosters creative experiences through literature and story telling. We also have plans for a quiet play area indoors and making more improvements to the garden where students can learn to take care of the earth.”
The Global Concepts regular school year runs from August through June but also offers a theme-oriented summer program consisting of fun, nurturing games and nature discovery.