South America

Casa del Nino Maria de Nazareth

Villa Ballester, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Program Established: 1993

# of Children:  91, 30 in the Montessori program    •    Ages Served:  2.6 – 6

Contact Person: Graciela Klobovs

Contact Information:

Immediate Needs:

  1. Funds to build a larger environment so that they can serve more
  2. Montessori materials in new or good condition.
  3. Donations to support teacher training and to pay for a full time
    trained assistant.
  4. Funds for medical care.
  5. Volunteer assistance from AMI trained teachers.

Volunteer Support: The ability to speak Spanish is necessary.


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“Casa del Niño María de Nazareth” in Villa Ballester, Buenos Aires, is an institution founded in 1993 by a group of people belonging to the Apostolic Movement of Shoenstatt. Its general mission is to contribute to a fairer and more dignified society and more specifically to help families create favorable conditions for the healthy growth and education of children and to offer youngsters the tools to develop economic independence and become positive models in their own social environments. The recent shift to a Montessori environment has brought about huge changes for the children from this very poor neighborhood in Buenos Aires.

At present the Children’s House works as a Day Care Centre and Community Dining Centre serving a total of 91 children from the 9 de Julio neighborhoods in Villa Ballester. The children attend the centre in their counter school shift, one group comes to the center before school starts at noon, and another group comes to the centre in the afternoon after they finish their morning school program. They have their meals at the centre and attend different programs according to their age group.

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We received two scholarships to take the 3 to 6 AMI Training Course, and sent Graciela, a very enthusiastic teacher and myself to take the course. We have since opened positions for 20 new little children to add to the primary group and we are amazed by the results we have seen already. Here is a short history and testimony given by Graciela, the Children’s House director:

“We only learnt about the Montessori pedagogy three years ago. We found that it was “the” concrete way to implement or put in practice with the littlest ones all those principles or philosophy that we already believed in but never knew how to do it. Within our limited possibilities we learnt as much as we could, we made our own few materials and slowly began to live and incorporate some of its practices to our daily routine. Soon the changes we saw in the children motivated us more and more. This is a brief account of what we observed:

-Children’s independence grew as they incorporated habits of order and autonomy.

-Self esteem improved as they were able to select what they wanted to work with.

-Abilities like comprehension, memory, attention, listening and reasoning were clearly enhanced.

-Joy was aroused at the awareness of their own capacity to acquire knowledge.

-There is more harmony in the classroom, violence among them has diminished.

-In the dining room all children, from three years on, help serve the meals and clean up the tables.

Our plans are to move towards a full day Montessori program and any financial support you can give to enhance this program will be much appreciated.