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Maja Dragnić, Bloom Parent

Bloom is a hidden gem of Sarajevo, a shining star in the dark night. Once only the dream and vision of an incredible woman (Mrs. Maëlys de Rudder, founder and director of the school), thanks to her leadership, hard work and persistence, today Bloom is not just a school, but a family like no other.

Laila, my daughter, has attended Bloom for the past eight years (started in third grade and is currently a junior in high school). As we moved from Washington to Sarajevo that summer, my primary concern was Laila's adaptation to the new environment and culture. Bloom's staff, students and their families made Laila's transition and adjustment period as easy as possible. The warmth, kindness, care and attention of the teachers, staff and parents have been exceptional from day one and have ensured Laila's smooth transition as well as her continued development and flourishing over the years. Even after eight years, I'm still impressed when I realize at individual parent-teacher conferences how well the teachers know and understand Laila, and how much they all care. Opportunities to get involved in a variety of activities, from art, to sports, to gardening and greenhouse projects organized by the school, gave Laila the opportunity to explore different areas. The holistic approach to education, which is the basis of the Montessori method, is truly a living value at Bloom.

The multicultural staff and students made my daughter feel at home. Personally, it gave me a sense of security to be in a quality environment that prepares me for the real world and for real life, where our travels and work take us across countries and cultures. An environment where learning cultural awareness, tolerance, respect and flexibility happens through spontaneous everyday activities is invaluable.

Given the bleak state of affairs and negative trends in our city and state, Mrs. De Rudder's ability to translate her vision for the school into reality here, as opposed to a happier environment, is all the more remarkable. I can only imagine how much effort, sacrifice and patience it took. I have immense respect, admiration and gratitude for Mrs. De Rudder's courage to create a school based on non-traditional, holistic methods of education and child development, in our increasingly conservative and homogenous society. Mrs. De Rudder and her team realize that initial vision with passion and quality every day. While school development, just like human development, is never perfect and never ends, what has been achieved so far is truly impressive.

Preparing our children for the world they will inhabit, a world that we, their parents, do not know (just as our parents could not imagine the world we all live in today), is a challenging task. While I remain concerned for the future of all children, I am confident that the values demonstrated and taught at Bloom, (such as inclusion, freedom of choice, independence, tolerance and respect) will help students become healthy and well-rounded adults.

I am grateful to be a part of the Bloom family.”

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