Amazing ideas abound when Carolyn and Elisabeth share their thoughts and inspirations. During the Practitioner Symposium held in September, 2022, we had the pleasure of Carolyn and Elisabeth discussing what they have been doing to celebrate Montessori for use with elders.
Carolyn and Elisabeth are both Montessori trained educators, who, together, founded Montessori Eldre Ressurs which tailors and delivers Montessori materials and services to individuals in Norway. Their products are amazing and beautiful and their desire to bring them to elders in two counties is just as inspiring.
They have developed a project that is anticipated to have 300 free Montessori kits by March 2023. Additionally, they are also planning to create a website initially, for local involvement, so families and others can order free Montessori-style materials that are tailored to the interests of elders.
The initial project enrolled eligible participants based upon a set of pre-determined criteria with a focus on being innovative and aiding in the engagement and purpose of elders who were lonely and isolated. As with all projects that revolve around a human element, Carolyn and Elisabeth ran into challenges. These included finding a common denominator in the interests of the elders being served as well as being individualized while having them available for ordering through the internet. But as with all that Carolyn and Elisabeth do, they came through with innovation and ideas that worked and kept the elders’ interests top of mind.
They began a trial of the materials in two Norwegian communities in Oslo, Norway. To guide their work, they continued to keep in mind the principles of Montessori and included activities included human tendencies such as orientation, abstraction, exploration, and communication. Identification from the elders of the communities was also important in helping Elisabeth and Carolyn decide what additional materials would be useful, so they created and carried out a survey to find out more information. From here, they gained meaningful information to move their project closer to its final form… which is to keep elders’ days “filled with meaningful engagement and enjoyment”.
To close their presentation, Carolyn and Elisabeth shared a profound statement and something everyone should consider for the elders they serve, “Life goes so fast until… you sit in this chair and every day becomes an eternity”.