We want to influence the education and approach to children at a European level. We are convinced that it is possible to delve to even greater depths and to change the attitude and the way we think about education. We have created a comprehensive system that involves the school and children, as well as parents with equal intensity. Our aim is to ensure that the educational system supports children's self-confidence, helps them discover their unique abilities, develops their natural talents, respects the pace of their development and supports them in developing their independence. We guide our children through their education, and our role is to provide support so that they can do it on their own.
The story of Duhovka actually began as early as 1907 in Rome when Maria Montessori, the Italian educator, philosopher, physician and researcher, opened "Children’s House" (Casa dei bambini), a preschool intended for 50 socially disadvantaged children aged 3 to 6. At that time Maria Montessori choose not to pursue her career in science and medicine anymore and she began to fully focus on lecturing and publishing activities to promote her findings. In 1908 she founded an association for promoting her educational methods called "Opera Montessori".
Maria Montessori studied medicine, philosophy and psychology. She took a particular interest in anthropology, biology and pedagogy and continued to educate herself throughout her life. In her work, theory and practice were mutually intertwined. Marie Montessori's work is not based only on theory. Its power lies in the practical implementation of ideas, and the
majority of her work consists of the interpretation of her observations of children and providing justifications through educational experiments.
Maria Montessori promoted holistic education where the mutual interaction of physical and mental activity must also be reflected in the learning process. She placed emphasis on the “polarization of the attention”, which is the core of her methods. The child is able to concentrate intensely and for a long time on activities that are of interest to them. Another fundamental feature of her method is free choice of activities with the child themselves deciding what they will do, with whom they will work, and for how long they will work.
The primary creed of the pedagogy developed by Marie Montessori is based on a request by a young child who addressed Maria saying: "Help me do it by myself". The role of adults is to support the child in developing curiosity to acquire new
knowledge and skills through their own efforts and at their own pace, thus naturally connecting to the world which surrounds them. Montessori pedagogy is based on the statement that "human personality, not the educational method must be taken into account". The child should be respected and considered as an independently developing individual. The teacher is not viewed as an authority, but they are viewed as an equal partner whose main task is to create an appropriate learning environment for the pupil.
Today Maria Montessori’s pedagogy is widely spread throughout the world. Thousands of schools and thousands of teachers continue the story of Marie Montessori and apply her respectful methods to the education of millions of children. Duhovka is one of those who continue to spread the story. It is one of the few institutions that apply the educational methods developed by Marie Montessori at the level of an eight-year high school.
Duhovka is exceptional in that it offers a complex journey from infancy to adulthood. The whole system functions at all levels, closely tied and with the emphasis on Montessori principles. We create a friendly and respectful environment that promotes children's self-esteem, their independence, individuality and desire to learn. We guide children through their development so as to strengthen their respect for themselves and for the world around them.
In the first place, such an environment must feel real. People who are involved in creating it must live their lives in accordance with what they want to teach - and that is exactly what you will find at Duhovka. You will find people at Duhovka who have in common a desire to offer their best to children, to become a role model for them, and to provide them with principles that will enable children to find their own mission in life.
We offer unique, modern facilities equipped with the best Montessori teaching tools and materials which connect the body and mind and help children learn through entirely unforced activities. Learning is predominantly through observation, manipulation with tools, both individual and group work, all senses are involved. We place emphasis on the children working at their own pace without any pressure.
Because we have a sufficient number of Montessori teachers in respect to the number of children in classes, we can focus on kind, individual care showing respect to the development of individuality, personal strength and self-discipline within each child.
Children are accepted to classes from Grade 1 to Grade 5. We have mixed age classes to support the learning process and the natural interaction of children. Duhovka inspires children to be independent, to be aware of their personal responsibility for what they create and to have an active approach to life.
We pay particular attention to supporting children in the development of their skills, enabling them to think in context, to cope with life and to seek their own way, not the way "pre-prepared" by their parents or society in general. We offer children a secure environment which gives confidence to both the child and the teacher to develop their authenticity, uniqueness and fantasy.
We aim to teach children to think in context and to build on skills, not just on knowledge. We want our graduates to have developed critical thinking, to be satisfied with themselves and to be able to cope in their lives. Our goal is that our students will continue studying at university and will develop an interest in lifelong learning and will continue to develop themselves.
The educational school program of Duhovka High School combines the requirements of the Czech curriculum for grammar schools with inspiration from international programs (e.g. "Cambridge International Examinations" and International Baccalaureate - the last two years of study).
We believe everyone has a hidden treasure. We help them discover and make the most of their riches.
We recognize and respect the different needs and requirements of children, parents and the state. Our aim is to balance these needs, ensuring that all of them are met.
Believing and supporting
We feel that believing and supporting means more than controlling and protecting. We are guides on the way to a happy and successful life.
We understand education as a collaboration that supports the development of critical thinking and the ability to be successful and satisfied in all social areas and cultures.
The world of education, the world of children, is an endless world of discoveries and hidden potential. We are here to help children discover what they enjoy, what makes them satisfied, and to help them develop it. Every day we ourselves learn something new, discovering the world of children from various new perspectives. At a moment when support, listening and interest has become a core instrument for educating children, they will reward you by showing you their view of the world. Childhood is a period when children shape their lives forever, gain their first experiences and first opinions, learn to communicate and cooperate, learn to perceive space and its borders. Being a guide through their childhood is a huge responsibility, and if you want to be a Montessori guide, you have to realize this and bear it in mind. We are guides through childhood and education, and if we respect children, they will have the power to change the world.
Respect among Cultures
In our understanding of the world people are equal. We respect individual cultures, nationalities, religions, and strive to create bridges and break down walls. We are convinced that mutual respect is not just for some, but everyone equally deserves it. We are an international institution and therefore we have attracted people from different parts of the world and we are grateful for this because every child that together with their parents brings the culture of their home country enriches and expands our horizons.
Duhovka offers a space for the personal development of all its employees. Each of our teachers has already completed or is currently undergoing a two-year international Montessori training program. We send some of our teachers to the USA, others complete their training in the Czech Republic under the supervision of American lecturers. Training takes place during school vacations, and taking time into consideration, it is a personal investment each of us makes. This is also what characterizes Duhovka - each of us invests more than just work. If you believe in continuous learning and developing yourselves, you will get the utmost support at Duhovka. It is up to each of us how we want use this option. Duhovka is an organism that keeps growing and developing, and everyone involved with Duhovka keeps naturally developing together with it. It requires only your own desire to learn, your inventiveness and for you to be proactive.
We liked the idea of a preschool where children meet various nationalities and where teachers speak more languages. Preschool children are like sponges that absorb everything they comes across and imprint what they need for their further natural development. We found out that most private preschools in Prague were mainly based on teaching in English. However, we and our children live in the Czech Republic, and the sooner our children learn to speak Czech correctly, the earlier and more in depth they will be able to learn other languages and participate in other activities.
The number of languages you know, are the number of times you are a human being. Knowledge of the English language opens a door to the world and we want it to be wide open. Therefore, one of the priorities at Duhovka is bilingualism. From preschool to high school we have guided our children through bilingual education. In our classes children are cared for by one English and one Czech teacher. At this moment, we are also working towards the IB (International Baccalaureate), which is an international baccalaureate exam recognized by most prestigious universities.
Only a few schools integrate bilingual lessons. It is much more challenging, more effort is to be undertaken in the cooperation between teachers and the whole Duhovka team but we are convinced that this makes sense and we are trying to overcome all these obstacles.
Creating Duhovka as a Team
We have been creating an environment which supports collaboration and open communication. Everyone at Duhovka has the opportunity to participate in its functioning and growth. At directors’ meetings we jointly make decisions on the strategy of Duhovka. Similar meetings are held by the directors with their colleagues in preschool, elementary school and high school. Each of us is welcome to comment on events and activities at Duhovka and their opinion will be heard. Duhovka is an organism. Its souls are teachers in all three institutions and also everyone involved in creating the Duhovka environment. It is our teachers and what they are like that determines whether Duhovka will keep doing great work. This is one of the main reasons why we invest in teacher training, why we provide opportunities for their further development, and why they have the opportunity to participate in the decisions we make at Duhovka.
Teachers in the Montessori environment are called guides, and that is exactly what we should be like not only as educators, but also as parents. Children do not need us to do things for them or instead of them.
Duhovka helps me to grow. I find yoga, painting, gardening. I bring mindfulness in my life and find out that I want to show to the children things what I am passionate for.
If you share the view that the world can be changed through the education of children, then come and join us at Duhovka because here you get the space. If you long for further development, you will get all the support. But you should know that with Montessori is not just an eight-hour work day, it takes constant involvement.
You will find Duhovka management and the elementary school in Břevnov. Our preschool just a little further in Dejvice and at Cihelna, Old Town, next to the Vltava river. Our high school takes up the whole corner of Ortenovo Square, Holešovice. At all of our locations you will find a desire to do something for children, in an environment that encourages collaboration.
Education is our mission, not only in the sense of the scope of our business, but we are convinced that only through lifelong learning will we achieve the expansion of critical thinking and we will be able to continually strengthen our self-confidence and overall self-development. We have constantly been learning, it is as natural to us as breathing air because we believe that a person influences the world around them according to how they are doing themselves, how they feel, whether they have the opportunity to grow and to continue developing themselves. The training of our lecturers, colleagues, and employees is one of the reasons why we founded and constantly develop Duhovka Institute. The second reason is the promotion of Montessori principles among parents and the public. Duhovka Institute offers courses in Montessori pedagogy to all people who want to pursue this educational path. Our courses are led by international, certified lecturers in English.
The last and no least important task of Duhovka Institute is to make parents of Duhovka children more aware of Montessori pedagogy to understand the principle which Duhovka and children at Duhovka live according to.
Duhovka belongs into the sphere of social business. One of the key points of our vision is to support families and to create a position for boosting changes both in education and society.
We decided to establish the Duhovka Fellowship, which aims to award scholarships to new students from low-income families, thereby contributing to even greater diversity within Duhovka. We believe that this type of education is what helps society move on. We want Duhovka to be attractive to potential donors that will become our partners willing to give us a helping hand in fulfilling our goals and visions. Everything is easier with the support of the community.
We appreciate the support of all those who have so far been involved in the development of Duhovka! Thank you.
Duhovka celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
An Intention at the Beginning
The intention to build our own preschool because we could not find the right one. Then Montessori principles inspired us so much that we decided to create a comprehensive concept that will make sense and can inspire others. The intention became a vision. None of us knew if Duhovka would succeed, we had no experience, but we had a huge desire to build Duhovka. We have been building it for ten years already, while still enjoying it, and the number of those of you who have been enjoying it with us is constantly growing. We are very grateful for this and we consider it a success and a commitment to continue this work.