Hi Vanuatu Families & Community,

This Facebook page is for our free playgroup at our home in Whitesands, Port Vila. We believe the ocean is for all & that time at the ocean has health benefits for children and adults alike. We aspire to include Montessori activities in our home and and would like to offer this to the wider community as we learn with our own son, who is 15 months old. We try to use all natural or recycled/repurposed materials as much as possible.

***Sapos yu wantem blong mi talem aot ol tok tok lo pej ia lo Bislama, plis sendem wan mesij lo Facebook i kam***

Currently 1 day a week on Mondays from 8:00am-10:30am. This playgroup is open to all, but activities are targeted for 0 – 6 years old. The time is open, so come as you can and as you are. You can bring a snack to share, but it’s not mandatory. Children are required to come with an adult. We believe in letting children wander around and feeling free to explore nature, through the bush and the beach area. Even though we have a few activities after free play, the goal is not to force children to sit through activities, but to welcome them as they are and honor how they are feeling that day. This may mean sitting and joining in, watching from the sidelines, or exploring elsewhere on the grounds. We seek diversity and welcome all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or ability!

ACTIVITIES As mentioned above, children are free to join in or play independently. Activies emerge from environmental conditions and the interests of the children. We have a shared snack on woven mats and we also try to have some music/songs, book/story time, and art or agricultral activity at each playgroup.

If this sounds of interest to you and your kids please let us know via PM and I will send you our location. Mi save tok tok Bislama tu!

Peace & Love, the Cullens




Further thoughts:

Somehow traditional playgroups geared towards preparing children for the conventional education system felt like something was missing. We want to help provide a different option – and as we seek this for our own son, we’d like to share with others. As our family is learning about the Montessori method of teaching, we want to share below as food for thought – A Decalogue by Dr. Maria Montessori listed in the magazine “Around the Child”. You can read more on it in “Montessori for the New Millennium – Practical Guidance on the Teaching and Education of Children of All Ages, Based on A Rediscovery of the True Principles and Vision of Maria Montessori” by Roland A. Lubie Wentworth and Felix Wentworth. We aren’t sure 100% yet how we feel about Montessori, but in general we feel that the principles are kind, inclusive and respectful ways to interact with children, and that definitly resonates.

  1. Never touch the child unless invited by him (in some form or the other).
  2. Never speak ill of the child in his presence or absence.
  3. Concentrate on strengthening and helping the development of what is good in the child so that its presence may leave less and less space for evil.
  4. Be active in preparing the environment. Take meticulous and constant care of it. Help the child establish constructive relations with it. Show the proper place where the means of development are kept and demonstrate their proper use.
  5. Be ever ready to answer the call of the child who stands in need of you and always listen and respond to the child who appeals to you.
  6. Respect the child who makes a mistake and can then or later correct himself, but stop firmly and immediately any misuse of the environment and any action which endangers the child, his development or others.
  7. Respect the child who takes rest or watches others working or ponders over what he himself has done or will do. Neither call him, nor force him to other forms of activity.
  8. Help those who are in search of activity and cannot find it.
  9. Be untiring in repeating presentations to the child who refused them earlier, in helping the child acquire what is not yet his own and overcome imperfections. Do this by animating the environment with care, with restraint and silence, with mild words and loving presence. Make your ready presence felt to the child who searches and hide from the child who has found.
  10. Always treat the child with the best of good manners and offer him the best you have in yourself and at your disposal.

~~ We’d love to chat further to anyone else interested in RIE priciples, Nature Pedagogy, and Montessori – We are still learning and love having others to learn with 🙂 Just send a message to us on Facebook. ~~