Magazine article Montessori Life

Montessori: Universal Education

Magazine article Montessori Life

Montessori: Universal Education

Article excerpt

Montessori education is an amazing worldwide system. I have had many opportunities to visit Montessori communities around North America and in Latin America, Asia, the Mddle East, Africa, Oceania, and Europe. These marvelous schools and their settings bear witness to the vital fact that Montessori education speaks to the universal child.

Dr. Montessori's notion of the universal child is that children of all races, geographic origins, and ethnicities are deeply and profoundly alike. They are alike in their needs, patterns of language acquisition, growth and development, tendencies, sensitive periods, and their very humanity. As children grow within their culture, differences will appear. By adulthood, or even before, some of these differences may lead to mistrust, fear, or even hatred of other cultures and groups.

However, none of us are born with these fears or hatreds. Instead, we have all of the commonalities mentioned above. This explains why a single system of education can serve young people from so many countries and cultures. Montessori education has its basis in the child and is not rooted in any one culture, belief system, or nationality. To be based on following the child means that Montessorians around the globe seek to act as an aid to life, offering all children the opportunity to achieve their potential. In this way, Montessori responds to the inner needs and tendencies of every child, rather than imposing a single cultural norm upon children.

Although Montessori education involves children of many backgrounds, I do not think of it as multicultural. Perhaps, in a larger sense, it is transcultural. By this, I mean that Montessori education addresses the fundamental human needs of young people across cultures. Not only are Montessori schools culturally inclusive, but they also seek to assist children in finding meaning and reaching their aptitudes, developing their capabilities, and maximizing their opportunities within their own cultures. …

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