Academics are important and Maria Montessori spent time creating beautiful materials that challenged the children academically. However she placed a high emphasis on the importance of educating the whole child; academically, emotionally, physically and socially.
Maria observed the struggles of the world around her and believed that it was our younger generation who held the power to turn our world into a better place. She believed that through raising children who were accepting of others regardless of differences, had an awareness of the world around them and were given the skills needed to resolve conflict peacefully – we will change our world into a harmonious place.
We promote this in our school through creating classrooms that function as small communities. Encouraging children to work together, to help each other when needed and to resolve conflicts peacefully through expression of emotions, discussion, negotiation and mutual resolution. We hope that our families will continue to promote this in their children outside of the classroom.
Here are three ways you can assist your children in building these skills:
*talk to your child about differences and similarities in others, other countries, religions and holidays without prejudice and how we can celebrate the diversity in our world. In our school we say “some people believe” or “some people celebrate”
*when you experience a conflict personally express how you feel calmly, describe why you feel that way and try and find a resolution. This is not easy and requires a lot of discipline but think of our world and how different it would be if everyone resolved conflicts in this way.
*if your child recognizes a difference in someone, for example a student recently recognized another student had started wearing glasses. Allow for open discussion with questions about why they wear them or what their purpose is. If it doesn’t make the person uncomfortable involve the child/adult who is wearing the glasses so they can have a more personal discussion.
These are some great first steps towards changing our world for the better.
Written by Rachel Buechler