As a lawyer, mother, Montessorian and enthusiastic lifelong learner, Monika Kósa’s newest role as Lead Guide at Guidepost Montessori at Vienna will allow her to blend the different facets of her remarkable background and education.“I’m really excited to be able to combine these areas because this is what makes me joyful,” Monika shared.
Prior to taking Montessori training, Monika had an impressive legal background with the qualifications to practice in multiple countries, including Austria and Hungary. Monika specialized in business law and advised clients and companies for the leading international law firm of Vienna and the CEE region. This background was helpful in navigating the legal aspects of a school launch project.
This is not Monika’s first foray in the education industry. She was instrumental in bringing Guidepost Montessori to Vienna and has experience with other school planting and corporate childcare projects. In fact, Monika made the initial contact with Higher Ground Education. Since then, she has worked relentlessly in many different capacities throughout the two-year process of making this vision a reality.
“I'm not just a lawyer,” Monika said. “I can think in enlightened generalist terms, but also in details and with an analytical mind.”
Establishing a Montessori school in the city center that serves elementary children was an important goal for Monika to achieve both personally and professionally. Many of the current elementary programs are in the outskirts of the city, but this site allows many families, including Monika’s, the option to continue their child’s Montessori education beyond Children’s House.
From Lawyer to Montessorian
Monika’s Montessori journey began with her passage into motherhood. Even before her son was born, Monika committed to raising him in the “Montessori way.” By a year old, he was baking bread with her in their kitchen.
Montessori gave Monika a lens to understand childhood and parenting. She has delighted in observing the development of her now 7-year-old son, a trilingual native Viennese, who has been enrolled in Montessori programs since he was a toddler. Monika noted that he now “cooks very well and independently after all these years of practice!”
“I really like that I get an intellectual structure to think differently about children and developmental stages, also about life, about how we think about learning and development, what is important in life,” Monika reflected.
With her young son in tow, Monika began attending Montessori workshops and became increasingly more involved in the Montessori world. Her interest led her to pursue Montessori Elementary training at the Montessori Akademie of the Austrian Montessori Society in Vienna.
“I completed my practical teaching in Germany in the classroom of one of the most renowned and experienced Montessori teachers in the German-speaking area,” Monika said. The feedback Monika received on her teaching was very encouraging. “From that point on, I started to dream about how I could make an impact in the classroom.”
One of the many aspects of teaching that fuels Monika is the moment when excitement registers “in the eyes of the child.” From there, she loves watching the children be inspired to embark on a research or project and seeing the process unfold.
Monika also appreciates the Montessori emphasis on storytelling in elementary across subject areas. Her academic background in literature, history, and art history will be particularly useful in this regard. In preparation, Monika has been collecting short stories and interesting tales of discoveries.
Preparing the Environment
Until the doors open, Monika is enjoying ordering items for the classroom and consulting with Higher Ground’s Prepared Environment team. It feeds Monika’s passion for visual art and interior design. “I am always drafting in my mind,” she said. “That is where my mind collects energy.”
During her training observations, Monika would often focus on the placement and layout of the furniture, shelving, and materials in the classroom and how they support concentration. Now that she has that opportunity to consider those details for the new space where she will guide children, she is relishing it.
The Montessori Advantage
Monika has seen firsthand how children benefit from what she called the “Montessori advantage” and looks forward to fostering that in the classroom. From her practical teaching experience, she learned not to underestimate children’s potential because they can tackle complex work when offered a challenge and the tools to meet it.
“I’m excited to achieve that in a Montessori setting, without pressure, to discover the joy of learning and share this joy and excitement for learning with children,” she said.
Guidepost Montessori is a a global network of schools serving 3,500+ families with early education programs, including Emergency Care for Essential Workers (ECEW) during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking for more free content? Download Guidepost Parent from the App Store for personalized Montessori inspiration and activities.