Tirana English School is an international early learning center for children ages 2-5 based on the Reggio Emilia approach, learning through play and exploration. Our vision is to develop a love of learning in all children, by providing thoughtful and creative content that inspires children’s natural love of learning. We focus on building social emotional skills and incorporate them into all our daily activities. Our program is directed and taught by staff with backgrounds in early childhood development, education and arts.
From Los Angeles to Tirana– Our education journey started in Los Angeles where we were part of an awesome co-op in Hollywood. Like many families we had a full schedule with work, friends and family life. We were looking for a preschool for our 3 year old daughter that would help us manage our schedule at an affordable cost. We visited many preschools in Los Angeles but could not find what we were looking for. We found two extreme models of preschool in Los Angeles. One model was the daycare model. The daycare model was nice like going to grandma’s house, nice food, toys and entertainment. The other model was education by methodology such as the Montessori model with trained technicians. Neither model met our needs. We wanted a school that was full of interactive activities focused on social and emotional learning, one that taught the children to understand the environment they lived in. We wanted a school that would extend what we were already doing at home. We read to our children every day, we made arts and crafts in the living room, we talked about sharing and caring, and we went on nature walks on the weekends.
The Coop– At first we were very hesitant to be part of a coop but once we joined it was one of the best education decisions we made for our children, it was revolutionary. The coop was filled with parents like ourselves. We started to realize that having a group of parents that cared and were willing to offer their time and resources beat any system or methodology. Many of the parents in the coop were professionals but we all made time to come and care for the children. Parents of the coop were as diverse as Los Angeles itself; they were professional musicians, artists, film directors, writers, producers, school teachers, engineers and scientists. Our common thread was our children, we wanted to offer the best education possible and we were willing to create it for them.
Tirana, Albania– After 18 years of living in the Los Angeles area, Elda came home to Tirana married with 2 children and a dog. As soon as we landed in Tirana we started our school search again. Again we did not find what we were looking for but this time we knew what was possible. In the summer of 2013 we officially started Tirana English School with 4 students (2 of them – our own kids). The entire summer we played together, read stories together and got pleasantly wrinkled from playing in the pool. It was the perfect beginning. Our goal was to find parents like ourselves that would help us build the best preschool in Albania. We saw challenges as opportunities, we saw lack of resources as commissions to create and invent. We created our own curriculum, our own lesson plans and at times when needed we wrote our own songs, made our own videos and wrote our own books (not everything is on Amazon). No YMCA, no problem. We partnered with local resorts and created our own sports program.
Best team in the world– We knew starting our own school was a daunting task. Graciously many of our friends who are some of the best educators in the world joined our advisory board and provided us the frame work to develop our curriculum. Few of our advisers came to Albania to help us with setup, lesson planning and training. With our team coming together we set out to create a curriculum that we felt was innovative, hands on and discovery based.
2020 – Back to USA – After 8 years of directing and teaching at the preschool, Elda decided to go back to school and get her Master’s in Human Development focusing on Early Childhood at Harvard University. She wanted to get the best education available in early childhood development, to find out what is essential for children to learn in early years, and how to support parents and teachers in providing the best environment for children to grow and learn. She felt that often what is taught and emphasized in early childhood education is not based on research and best practices; she wanted to bring the up to date research on child development and neuroscience, and connect what is known from research to what she does everyday at Tirana English School.
Today– Tirana English School is committed to providing a high quality early childhood education. We hope that as we grow, the school would become a beacon for early childhood education in Albania.
Because the early years are critical for the child’s development in all areas: cognitive, social emotional, physical and behavioral.
Because 90% of brain growth happens between the age of Zero to Five.
Because children develop in an environment of relationships. The teacher-child relationship plays an important role in the development of the child, and is a strong indicator of a high quality program.
Because social emotional skills develop rapidly between the ages of zero to five and predict life long mental and physical health, school and work achievement and quality of relationships in adulthood.