The American Ukrainian Montessori Project is an educational endeavor initiated by Boris Zhebrovsky, Chairman of the Main Board of Public Education of Kiev, Ukraine, with the Princeton Center for Teacher Education in Princeton, New Jersey.
The inception of this project began in 1989 and to date has developed into a positive model of Montessori education in Kiev and other regions of Ukraine. The long-term project goal was to develop a Montessori educational model similar to the Princeton Center for Teacher Education Model: that is, a Montessori School with a Montessori Teacher Training Center.
In 1989 Mr. Zhebrovsky was first introduced to the Montessori philosophy in education. He believed that the best way to effect sociological change in Ukraine is to educate the children, and the Montessori method of education would be the best model to develop independent thinking skills needed in the Ukrainian culture. The Minister of Education of Ukraine accepted Mr. Zhebrovsky’s proposal to open a public school based on the pedagogical concepts of Montessori education.
Over the next decade, the Princeton Center for Teacher Education and the many teachers, administrators, and diplomats would work together to bring the model of the Princeton Montessori Society and Princeton Center Teacher Education (PCTE) to the Ukraine.
The partnership between our two countries has been exceptionally successful. Since the project began, the Ukrainian Montessori educators have established the Ukrainian Montessori Society, opened a Montessori School for children and created the Ukrainian Montessori Teacher Training Center. Over twenty regions of Ukraine have opened Montessori Schools and several kindergartens use elements of Montessori education. The parents’ interest and support of these schools and Montessori pedagogy is most positive. For the past two years, there is a waiting list at the Montessori school in Kiev.
Over twenty administrators attended seminars at the Ukrainian Montessori Teacher Training Center and over three hundred teachers attended seminars and continue to have an interest in Montessori education.
Each year, PCTE educators visit the Ukraine to consult with the teachers and staff, conduct parent meetings, and present workshops for administrators. Ukrainian teachers continue to visit PCTE during the summer months to broaden their understanding of Montessori principles and learn from the model here. Without question, both the Americans and Ukrainians have benefited from our connections with each other.