To educate for wholeness, means that all efforts are directed towards guiding children in their unique process of self-discovery, helping them to develop their full human potential and become creative contributing members of society, with respect for the environment, others and themselves. Maëlys de Rudder, founder & owner of Bloom, talks about organization of upcoming conference „Educating for Wholeness“ that will be held in Sarajevo from May 12 -14.
Q: How far in advance did you start planning? Was it something you always wanted to do and were simply waiting for the right time? Why this spring?
Barbara Isaacs, Wendy Compson and myself have been discussing this conference for quite some time but were indeed waiting for the right moment to start. The region is in full renaissance and there are many interesting things happening, namely in the field of education. Sarajevo is a beautiful city in spring and very much an emblem of unity in diversity. Educating for wholeness is about celebrating diversity in children whilst addressing a universal need: to enable children to achieve their full human potential and become creative contributing members of society, with respect for the environment, others and themselves.
Q: Who is involved in putting together this conference“?
It is a collaboration between Bloom and representatives from Montessori Centre International in London.
Q: How do you go about producing a conference that is both educational and appealing?
Well first you need a theme and this guides the choice of the right people. People are the key. Bringing the right people together. Diverse people; people who understand that learning is a life-long process, and that meaningful conversations create the most interesting learning opportunities.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference as a whole?
I am very happy to be able to welcome new people to our beautiful heart-shaped land and to show them that contrary to the focus of the media, we have so much to be proud of! There will soon be 5 Montessori schools running in different parts of the country. There is also a wonderful Steiner nursery in Sarajevo, which was set up straight after the war and is thriving!
Q: What else have you done to differentiate the conference and deliver additional options for conference goers?
The main goal of the conference is to create a space to reflect on what wholeness means when you consider the developing child, in order to be better prepared to accompany the child’s individual process. So, we have made sure that all four aspects of the child’s development be explored and discussed during the conference (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual). If our focus is the holistic child, it also seemed vital that the diversity of human expression be given a voice as much as possible. Our speakers come from around the globe and have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. They also represent many different fields of expertise and educational approaches.
We also believe that the individual should be an active participant in his/her own learning and wanted to provide a lot of interactive space for our guests. This led to the creation of the concept of Inspiration Hours, which are simply meaningful conversations on certain topics facilitated, by one of our experts.
Q: How will this have an impact on education in the future and other areas such as business and politics?
Our traditional systems are based on curriculum and control. Curriculums are dry. They organise the world in fake boxes. And they don’t evolve as quickly as our society does, so they cannot provide children with the knowledge they need for a future world we can’t even imagine. I understand the need for visibility and understanding. But the control systems that are in place in many systems in the world simply limit teacher’s creativity and their availability for children.
The debate on education has to shift if we want the world to continue progressing. The main goal of education should not be the absorption of knowledge, but the development of character and skills, or, borrowing Maria Montessori’s words, the “release of human potential”. Politics and Business are simply a reflection of the kind of people we have become, disconnected from important values and ourselves.
Q: You’re about ten or so weeks out from the conference. Are you excited? Worried? Both?