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Children must have the opportunity to express their unique personalities

Updated: May 8, 2023

Interview with Bloom parent Leyla Mattison.


YOU RECENTLY MOVED TO SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, FROM THE USA AND FRANCE, WHERE YOU GREW UP. WAS IT A DIFFICULT DECISION FOR YOU?


It happened completely spontaneously. We came to Sarajevo in June 2020 after the first quarantine in New York ended, and that time in Sarajevo was originally intended as a "classic" vacation. When we learned that schools in New York would continue to be fully online in September 2020, we decided to stay longer because our consulting jobs made it possible. After a few months, like many others, we realized that our ways of thinking had shifted to the possibility of a different rhythm, of accepting the joy that comes with a slower pace and access to nature. Our daughters, Ava and Uma, who had already moved with us from Paris to New York five years ago, seemed very happy to embark on a new adventure and create a new home. They made our decision very easy.


WHY DID YOU CHOOSE BLOOM SCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILDREN?


Both my husband and I have always believed in alternative education systems where children are given the opportunity to express their unique personalities and talents to become the empowered critical thinkers our world needs.


Knowing this, Bloom was recommended to us by a good friend who praised the holistic approach to the program, the creativity of the staff and the amazing location. After the Zoom call with Maëlys and Nina in November 2020, we were also convinced that it was the program's emphasis on socio-emotional development that would be key in helping our daughters feel safe and, to paraphrase Maria Montessori, "unleash their human potential".


FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, WHAT DO PARENTS EXPECT FROM SCHOOL THESE DAYS?


I can't speak for others, but I think there is a growing feeling among parents that the rigidity of traditional school systems is not preparing children for the world of tomorrow. With this in mind, I believe we all expect educational bodies to empower our children with the knowledge, material and emotional tools to help them navigate these changes while fulfilling their potential.


HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE CHILD'S ACADEMIC LIFE?


Support is key, but I will say this: “helicopter parenting” is not our thing! I see our role as more of an "as needed" resource when it comes to academics, providing guidance and tools in uncertain times so that they feel supported but also empowered to choose their own battles. My husband often says that "the need to achieve must come from within," and I wholeheartedly agree.


DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW PARENTS JOINING BLOOM?


Enjoy! And don't hesitate to connect with other parents and teaching staff for support, everyone is always willing to help and provide useful information - whether it's about school or life in Sarajevo.


YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE…


"Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain," Vivian Green.

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