Dear Parents,

Teaching young children, helping them to become confident learners following Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophy has been part of my life.  Looking back over thirty years spent in the classroom, days have been filled with joy, full of discovery and insight into early childhood development.  

In 1980 when I graduated from the American International School in Vienna I had ten years of cello practice behind me but was not sure about becoming a professional musician.  My parents suggested becoming a Montessori teacher.  With my cello and E.M. Standing's biography of Dr. Maria Montessori, I went to London where I took my Montessori training under Hilla Patel.  Upon completion of the training I moved to Dallas, Texas, where I was offered my first position as directress at the Albanesi Educational Center.  I further assisted in the training courses offered by the Albanesi Educational Center.  I obtained a certificate to train students on the primary level (2 1/2-6).

In 1987 I returned to Vienna and founded the first Montessori preschool since the interwar years. 

The preschool was founded in my mother's home.

A growing international community with the expansion of the United Nations to Vienna was a further impetus to open the preschool emphasizing Montessori philosophy and the English language.

Emma Plank, a student of Dr. Montessori and later a professor of medicine at Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, was the guest of honor at the opening in September 1987 and applauded the effort.  She remained a valuable counselor until her passing in 1990.

I see Dr. Montessori's educational philosophy as a timeless gift to early childhood education, in particular for today's child growing up in a time full of uncertainties.

A well prepared classroom gives the child an opportunity to grow at its own pace, to develop its innate longing to understand the world it lives in.  The big step into a small community outside of the family is worthy of our utmost attention.

Since its inception nearly one thousand students have graduated from the International Montessori Preschool Vienna, all bearing witness to the lasting effects of such an education.  Many graduates are now studying at university or have entered career paths.

Montessorians are lifelong learners and confident young people whom I continue to spur on the way to higher pursuits.  

- Julia Dekleva-Leko

  • Julia Dekleva-Leko
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  • Gregor Dekleva