Markus Gapp - (Dipl.-Ing.)
Managing Director of Montessori EcoLearning gemeinnützige GmbH
Growing up in a small community on the Bavarian-Baden-Württemberg border, I enjoyed both school systems. My school years were followed by an
- Apprenticeship as an electrician (1986), and after that, as part of the
- Second-chance education, the subject-related higher education entrance qualification (1989), which enabled me to
- study electrical engineering (1994) at the University of Ulm, specialising in systems engineering.
This was followed by a technical advisory position for the GIZ (at that time still "ded", German Development Service) in West Africa (Cameroon) with a focus on vocational training/management and after that various jobs in industry (quality, robot development, automation technology). Since 2005 I have also been active as a part-time lecturer on dual study programs.
The topic of education has occupied me since my training and was also put into practice within the framework of my task for the "ded". Even then, Montessori was an integral part, not only professionally but also because my wife Katja facilitated/illustrated our son's entry into school by home schooling him on this basis.
Since that time, the Montessori approach has never left me. And now, on the basis of the Montessori EcoSchool concept, it is to be implemented on a larger scale and in a particularly sustainable way.
Katja Gapp - Montessori teacher
Partner of Montessori EcoLearning gemeinnützige GmbH, overall management Montessori EcoSchool
As the youngest of three sisters, I grew up "all over the world": Lebanon, Syria and Korea were my home for the first 16 years of my life. At international schools, the English language almost became my second mother tongue during this time. However, these school years also shaped me in other ways, because it was quite normal that all children would attend school together until grade 12 - there was no selection after grade 4! All-day school was also a great matter of course from the beginning.
Since my family returned to Germany in 1982, I completed my schooling at a German Gymnasium, but after these three years I had enough of "school" for the time being and trained as a photographer. Here it became clear that I liked dealing with people in a personal and empathetic way more than I had previously suspected!
With the birth of our son 22 years ago, I discovered Montessori education - and it has had a firm grip on me ever since! I started my first Montessori training for 0-6 year olds in 1996 as a distance learning course in London, supplemented it in 1997 with a practically oriented Montessori course and finally deepened this knowledge from 2006 - 2008 with the International Montessori Training (AMI) for 6-12 year olds. During all this time, however, I had to realise that it was not at all easy to put Maria Montessori's wonderful-sounding theories into practice with my own children, because my habits first had to be changed over a long period of time. Here I realised that it was really a new path that I had taken together with my husband - but for us it was a path that was worthwhile.
Through my work with children - I worked for 4.5 years as an assistant and, after studying to become a primary school teacher, in which I majored in English studies and focused on reform pedagogical approaches, I worked for another 4.5 years as a class leader in mixed-age Montessori classes - the desire finally germinated to implement the experiences, insights and ideas I had gathered over the years in my own educational institution.
The Montessori EcoSchool concept presented here is the result of these thoughts.