North Shore Montessori's Africa Outreach: From Chicago's North Shore to Africa

Christine Olanya works with a child at Riverwoods Montessori SchoolAs a result of travel in 1998 by Tony and Carolyn Kambich to Africa to work on Rotary Club humanitarian micro finance service projects, some of the Africans became interested in our Montessori approach to education. In 1999, with the help of the Montessori community-American Montessori Society in New York, USA, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Illinois, USA, Meca-Seton Teacher Education Center in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, USA, and the North Shore Montessori Schools, Illinois, USA, three Africans came to do their Montessori internship at the North Shore Montessori Schools. In 2001, the Victoria Montessori School was founded by Christine and Joseph Olanya in Entebbe, Uganda.

Christine and Joseph Olanya with Tony and Carolyn Kambich in UgandaWith the help of the entire Montessori community, Northbrook United Methodist Church, Illinois, and Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club, Christine and Joseph were able to lease an abandoned government building in Entebbe, Uganda to begin a Montessori school. The renovation included repairing broken windows, repairing plumbing, bringing new electricity to the building, fencing the play yard, planting flowers, and decorating to make a homey "children's house" for the three to six year olds. Local parents helped to build the furniture and some of the Montessori materials. Many of the Montessori materials came as "Montessori shower gifts" from Montessori parents and teachers in the Chicago area.

The opening of the original, leased Victoria Montessori School in Entebbe UgandaThe initial leased building provided enough space for the first class of 30 children with a small room for further expansion. With the popularity of the Montessori approach, the school has more than doubled in size. The lease was due to expire at the end of 2004; thus, the school made preparations to buy land nearby and expand and build a 5 room school as families wanted to remain in the school and continue their education into the elementary level. The fathers were so amazed to see young children reading and doing mathematics and working independently. At the ribbon cutting ceremony of the original school, government officials spoke, children and adults sang and danced traditional dances, and parents gave thanks and testimonials about their children's progress.

Nationally recognized and accredited preschool and kindergarten and elementary school classes This photo, at right, shows the work continuing at Victoria Montessori School (Entebbe, Uganda).

Learn more about North Shore Montessori's Africa Outreach:

View the historical timeline here

For friends, students and organizations who wish to join in this exciting project and help create a new history for the children of Uganda, you may help with any of the following: