“Dr. Maria Montessori is universally known for her contribution to the cause of peace and the brotherhood of nations to which she has dedicated the best years of her long and active life, laying the foundations of a true science of peace by means of her innovative form of education.”
Maria Montessori saw with great clarity the huge potential of freedom not in the manifestation of the adult, but rather in that of a child. This is why her classrooms are so different.
The Montessori classroom is a prepared environment with mixed ages as in real life. It is where the students are allowed the freedom to make good choices as in real life. It is where the students are able to select an activity and work at it for as long as they like. It is a place where knowledge is not just passed down, but most importantly, it is a microcosm in which the student is guided to what is good and what is just.
It is a place where the children can play out their roles and interact with their peers and move about freely. Where they can experiment with what happens when they conduct themselves selfishly or generously, explore what happens when they show impatience or tolerance, and live with the outcome when they demonstrate meanness of spirit or empathy.
It is an environment where the “invisible curriculum” of Grace and Courtesy plays a significant role in the modeling of PEACE. For example:
- How to ask for help from a teacher or a friend.
- What if someone says “You’re not my friend.”?
- How to watch someone do work.
- How to do clean up.
- How to agree or disagree.
These rehearsed social scenarios are great tools for the construction of a peaceful life. The Montessori classroom is an ideal place for children to gain confidence and to satisfy the child’s need to function independently.
Montessori said, “Establishing lasting peace is the real work of education…”
To rephrase this: Establishing lasting peace is the real work of the child.