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My Journey with Bloom: A Personal Story of Innovation Clashing with Tradition

maelys de rudder tanovic, sitting at an office desk in a black turtleneck with blue folders behind her

My journey in establishing Bloom, 15 years ago, a local private school in Kanton Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been a deeply personal endeavour, driven by a vision to create an environment that nurtures student growth and independence. It has been an immensely rewarding and simultaneously challenging journey. It has provided me with a practical understanding of many facets of the traditional educational system, within the specific context of a single school, city, and environment. 

While the challenges may vary in magnitude in different countries or settings, I firmly believe that the fundamental transition from traditional school settings to a new educational model tailored to the contemporary developmental needs of children and our economic realities remains consistent for all of us. With this in mind, I hope that our Bloom story will serve as an inspiration, encouraging you to embark on your own journey of educational transformation, despite the obstacles you may encounter.


Defying the suggestion to register as an international school, I decided to integrate Bloom into the Bosnian local educational system, embracing its curriculum and strict regulations. This decision was a deliberate move towards my belief in the critical need for the evolution of public education.

Throughout this journey, I've continually encountered a tug-of-war between the conventional 'factory model' of education and the innovative methods I sought to implement, primarily based on the Montessori approach. This irony is stark, given that the Montessori method, though over a century old, carries profound wisdom and aligns seamlessly with the natural development of humanity. It begs the question: why do we resist an approach that so naturally complements human development?

The limitations faced in the practice

The factory model, with its rigid structure and standardized methods, has greatly impeded our efforts at Bloom. It has enforced a restrictive role for teachers, limiting their capacity to foster student independence. Teachers are often expected to lead, directly impart knowledge, and control classroom activities, which leaves little space for the creative and autonomous learning that is at the core of Montessori teachings.

This traditional approach is further entrenched by the pressure from the educational system and parents to produce measurable, standardized results. Such demands have fostered an environment where teachers feel pressured to safeguard their methods and outcomes, rather than venture into innovative educational practices.

Moreover, the challenges of recruitment, financial constraints, and the demands for administrative transparency have added significant complexity to our mission at Bloom. Teachers frequently find themselves overwhelmed with reporting and administrative tasks, which detracts from their primary role of engaging and inspiring students.

The better side of the medal - Bloom innovation 

However, in the face of these challenges, Bloom not only perseveres but flourishes with its unique approach. Beyond adopting the Montessori method and adapting its principles to encompass, not only preschool, but also primary and even high school education, we have successfully constructed our own supplementary educational pillars. These pillars further reinforce our mission to nurture generations of emotionally and socially resilient children, equipping them to confront the demands of the contemporary world.

Central to our success is the 'Love Yourself' pillar, focusing on character building and socio-emotional well-being as the foundation of our educational ethos. We have witnessed significant growth in children's self-awareness, emotional resilience, and empathy. 

Similarly, the 'Bloom Earth' pillar has had a profound impact, integrating our earth philosophy across our curriculum. Time spent in our forest, greenhouse, and fields has enriched children's connection with nature and fostered a sense of environmental stewardship.

Our interdisciplinary and experiential learning approach has dismantled traditional academic barriers, offering a more holistic and engaging educational experience. Significantly, the role of our classroom environment and routines, deeply ingrained in Montessori principles, has been transformative. These spaces and practices are meticulously crafted to support independent learning and natural movement patterns. 

Bloom's 'MovNat' program ( , along with the freedom of movement characteristic of the Montessori environment, has further promoted physical and cognitive development, in tune with each child’s natural rhythm.

Additionally, we have quite an emphasis on food and nutrition, which has not only cultivated healthy eating habits but also imparted knowledge about sustainability and the food's journey from farm to table. 

These accomplishments at Bloom are not mere milestones; they are a testament to the effectiveness and impact of our innovative approach, overcoming the limitations and challenges of the traditional education system.


My journey with Bloom stands as a testament to the ongoing struggle between traditional educational norms and the necessity for innovation. It underscores the resistance to change within a system deeply rooted in its ways, despite the evident benefits of methodologies like Montessori that harmonize with natural human development. Reflecting on this journey, it is increasingly evident that for the advancement of our children and society, we must persistently challenge these outdated norms and embrace educational methods that unlock and nurture the inherent potential within each student.

As our journey unfolds, we consistently forge connections with like-minded professionals and organizations, seeking to collaborate and advance the cause of improved, more human-centered education for both the present and future generations.

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