Montessori maestro shares expertise | Aga Khan Academies

Montessori maestro shares expertise

“It’s a great experience working with others who are dedicated to education. There’s always so much to learn.”

Averil Courtney has been volunteering at the Academy Junior School for the past month (mid October - mid November 2017), sharing her expertise in Montessori education. Averil hails from Dublin, Ireland, where she has worked as a primary and Montessori teacher for decades. 
Upon her visit to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada last summer, Averil immediately knew she wanted to spend time at one of the Academies. “I got to know the ethos of the Aga Khan Development Network and became really interested,” she recalls. 
During her tenure here, Averil has devoted her time to the Junior School's guided reading program, helping out in the creche, and contributing to the Outreach Department's Collaborative Discussion Forum (CDF) between the Academy and participating government schools.
During her CDF session, Averil crafted a workshop in which teachers participated in a “Maths Trail.” Once participants were divided into groups and given topics such as arithmetic, geometric shapes, and measuring, they were encouraged to see how their immediate environment could be used to teach these concepts. To create stimulating and interesting activities for students, you need look no further than your backyard, the seasoned teacher contended.  
Averil commented, “I come from a Montessori background where everything is integrated. So I liked the idea of using nature and the gardens on campus for zoology classes, botany, and biology.” 
All in all, Averil’s experience at the Academy has been both personally and professionally fulfilling. “It’s always nice collaborating with other teachers. It’s a great experience working with others who are dedicated to education. There’s always so much to learn.”
Averil’s favorite thing about the Academy? 
“I really love their approach to discovery learning. They encourage children to discover for themselves. When the students worked on a project about ancient Greek art, it was so nice to see how much they already knew and how much they wanted to find out.” 
Thanks for all your insight, Averil!