(a repost from LinkedIn 2017)
More than ever the World Needs More Montessori. As we reel nightly while trying to process the state of the world’s angst and subsequent consequences I continue to think if only more people knew about the work of Dr. Maria Montessori we would be in a different place. During Montessori’s lifetime, she was confronted with fascism, dictatorships, war, racism, sexism and the violation of rights of many humans. In contrast, she believed that through education in a generation or two we could reduce or eliminate these conditions. This was specifically the focus of her lectures in the 1930s and 1940s, today collected in Education and Peace (Montessori).
Through her pedagogy not only do children come to understand fundamental concepts about science, numeracy and literacy but about the importance and respect for the unique potential of all human beings. Montessori education balances the paradox of following the individual needs of the child but helps the child and family to come to understand that those needs must also be addressed within the needs of the community. It is not either/or, it is both. The child comes to terms with their role in the future of the world, their responsibilities associated and arrives at this understanding through a deep awareness of the contributions of everyone and everything through time to bring us to today.
Not only does the research continue to increase the efficacy of Montessori methodology, if you speak to people who have had the opportunity to attend Montessori many of them think about the world differently. They value collaboration, diversity, innovation, compassion and a global perspective. Alumni and present supporters as well as many who continue to work in some capacity in Montessori education long for the day that more students have access to a Montessori education-that the tipping point is reached and the global impact of a Montessori education starts to steer society in a different direction. This will be my prayer tonight and my work tomorrow as I read the news of the day and hope for a different trajectory than the one that we seem to be faced with today.
“The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity. He has shown us the true process of construction of the human being. We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them…. The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” (Education and Peace, Montessori)