Here, and in at least a half-dozen child development centers in Kyiv, the teaching principles of Maria Montessori are practiced. It’s the single, most widespread cultural pedagogy in the world, according to Lynne Lawrence, executive director of Association Montessori Internationale, an organization founded by Montessori in 1929 that oversees the development of learning materials and trains practitioners in the Netherlands. “It’s not about intellectual or physical development, it’s about all-round development,” Lawrence told the Kyiv Post. “It’s about putting the right building blocks in place at the beginning of life for children to make more of what they have in the future.”
The fundamental idea behind the Italian physician’s principles is that children are just like adults who’ve lived less time and whose learning capacities are in many ways greater than that of adults.
Days at Clever Kids start like at any normal preschool. Children arrive in the morning, change and stow their belongings in personal compartments. Next, they wash their hands and have breakfast.
But then they enter into a circle, focus and greet one another before they enter “zones” that are divided into sections geared toward enhancing the five senses of touch, taste, sound, hearing and sight.