After the catered lunch today at 11am, we were finished at 1pm, so Dr. Fang took me back to the hotel for a half-an-hour rest. Having awakened at 5am, I tried to rest but had too many things to think about. We left at 1:40pm for the University and lecture.
I was presented with a new poster that they made for me. It is pretty cute. There were 3 long tables at the front with around 60 chairs. I counted 50 people, including the 35 graduating students and new ones, plus some older visitors.
My lecture included Walking on the Line, Elephant Song, Little Miss Muffet and Book, How Much Do You Love Me? Amazingly, they already had that book translated into Chinese. The outline I gave my lecture was:
1. How I got into Montessori and our family
2. The history of our work, first in Taiwan, then Korea, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Kenya
3. What the special challenges have been in each country
4. How the Korean and Sri Lankan governments have sponsored training costs
5. What’s happening in Montessori in the US, and our courses there
6. Internships of 27 adults now in 20 schools
7. Challenges to Montessori philosophy today
a) Co-intervention and its effects on the children: dependence, lack of confidence, showing lack of trust in the child
b) Mistrust of some governments and teachers of the mixed-age practice
c) Circle misuse to delivery of lessons over materials and disrespect it shows to the youngest child; what to bring to circle instead of Montessori materials.
They presented Dr. Fang and Jane roses, and to me, sunflowers. I told that I am from the sunflower state.
Next came the presentation of 35 MTP Academic Certificates, one by one. The students were so thrilled to get them. I had signed individual album grade sheets for them (6×35) and it took about 2 hours of my life. There was one male, Daniel, who asked a group question, “How has Montessori education changed your family life?” I told about our dedication to children and teachers, and our vision to go into many countries.
I presented the certificates, and they hugged and thanked me. That was when I realized how important my coming was to them.
I spoke to them from Isaiah 61 regarding the Spirit of the Lord coming upon them and sending them out to the poor and powerless. Dr. Chen liked this because she has the dream for the indigenous women.
Jane and Dr. Fang took me to a Japanese restaurant where we were served in about 10 minutes. That was good because my eyes were drooping. I had Japanese beef and tempura and it was pretty good. I will be packing tonight and leaving tomorrow morning at 7:30am for Taipei to catch the afternoon flight to Guangzhou. It has been a whirlwind trip but I discovered the great work Jane is doing here and how much help Helen and Joanna also give her. They are the fruit of our work, too, and it is a blessing to see how dedicated and knowledgeable they are.