Just four weeks before this edition of ‘Revive’ went to print, Gail Cresswell packed up her things in Margaret River, in WA’s south west, and moved to Mowanjum, a remote Aboriginal community in the north of WA on the outskirts of Derby. With a passion for education in Indigenous communities, she is starting up a Montessori program for kids under three.
Montessori is an alternative form of education that encourages independence by creating an environment for children to learn at their own pace. Gail said that the system focuses heavily on learning by observation and involves lots of one-on-one interaction. “It’s about each child,” she said. “It’s a learning journey for each child.”
“It’s about the kids learning to be resilient and learning to be responsible to themselves.”
It is also a system that has been highly successful in Indigenous communities around Australia. Towards the end of August, Gail and her assistant, Daphne Gilbey, a member of the Mowanjum community, will be attending the Thursday Island Montessori Summit where they’ll be exploring the benefits of the Montessori approach in Indigenous cultures.