Dr. Maria Montessori saw children as far more than scholars. In her view, each child is a full and complete human being, the mother or father of the man or woman he or she will one day become. Even when very young, the child shares humankind’s hopes, dreams, fears, emotions, and longings. From her perspective, this goes beyond mental health to the very core of one’s inner spiritual life. Montessori programs offer consciously designed experiences that cultivate the child’s sense of independence, self-respect, love of peace, passion for self-chosen work done well, and the ability to respect and celebrate the individual spirit within people of all ages and the value of all life.
With a strong emphasis on international and multi-cultural education, Seminole Montessori School, a preschool in Tallahassee, FL tends to attract a diverse student body representing many different ethnic, religious, and international backgrounds. The curriculum is international in its heritage and focus and consciously seeks to promote a global perspective and mutual respect. The intent is for children to regard diversity as a call for celebration – not a cause for fear. Older students learn to care about others through community service, and The Montessori Peace Education curriculum supports this goal.
Montessori’s spiritual perspective leads Montessori schools in Tallahassee, FL to make a conscious effort to organize programs of community service, ranging from daily contributions to others within the class or school setting to community outreach programs that allow children and adults to make a difference in the lives of others. The fundamental idea is one of stewardship. Students also develop a love for the natural world. Natural science and outdoor education are important elements of our children’s experience.
Given the urgent and demanding complexities of everyday life, we find that The Montessori Method is more relevant today than ever before – a way of living in which people treat one another with respect and encouragement, no matter how young or how old. We encourage a culture of partnership rather than authority, competition, and ‘one-ups-mahship.’
We argue that these are indeed the qualities of a fulfilled and happy life; these are qualities of a person who is able to engage in today’s pressing issues and challenges.
In keeping with the principals of the Montessori Way, we imagine children graduate from Montessori schools demonstrating:
- A passion for learning;
- The ability to choose and engage for long periods of time in a work that is personally fulfilling;
- The ability to identify a social problem and contribute to its solution;
- The knowledge of how to respect and restore the natural environment;
- An understanding of cultural and racial differences as a call for celebration rather that a cause for fear; and
- The accomplishment of self-discipline and responsible choice
… and this is hardly a complete list.
Dr. Maria Montessori carried a large vision for the purpose of education – the establishment of universal and lasting peace. Though she witnessed two world wars and the unleashing of nuclear power, Montessori evolved a living philosophy of education, child-study methods, age-appropriate curricula and instruction, and programs for adult teacher education.