A Peaceful Path

“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.”  – Dr. Maria Montessori

 

One of the many things that drew me to Montessori education was what I saw in the casa (age 3-6).  These children were different from what I was accustomed to seeing.  They went about their own activities with complete confidence . Children worked alone or in small groups.  The room was buzzing with activity but was not in chaos.  The teacher was actually hard to spot.  She also moved around the room quietly with intent, interacting with the children or leading small groups.  The children were so compassionate and caring.  They went around the room helping each other without being asked.  I would never have expected this from a group of 25 three, four and five-year olds.

A few years later when I was in school to become a Montessori teacher I found out that there is MUCH more to the classroom than learning to read and write.  Yes, our children achieve some amazing academic feats; however, they also emerge with great compassion, a sense that they are connected to the world and an overall feeling of self-worth and responsibility to others.

How do we do this? It comes from learning how to work and play within a community of children where each child feels respected and fulfilled.  Our children are encouraged to help others, one reason why 25 children in one room works so well is that there is a variety of skill levels.  Children can help others instead of an adult.  This translates outside the walls of the classroom as well.

We model compassion.  We offer children a chance to tell others how they feel, whenever they need to.  When a child is hurt or upset the other child is responsible for helping them feel better. We help children stop and listen to how others feel and then decide what to do to help them.  This does not mean a quick “I’m sorry” will suffice. I have seen children sitting together holding hands quietly “talking it out”, a child making a snack and water for a friend, sometimes a lasting hug can do the trick.

Dr. Maria Montessori writes, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education”.

I know that Montessori is not the only way to instill these values in our children, but it is one way that I have seen work.

I feel a great sense of responsibility and joy that I am able to share the Montessori classroom with so many children.  I am humbled in knowing that I have chosen a profession that allows me to help make the world a better place, and am grateful for all the parents who have chosen this for their child.

 

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