Education of the Future
Updated: May 22
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; All politics can do is keep us out of war”
The time is now and right now everything has turned upside down for most, if not all of us. The world as we know it has drastically changed and the change happened really, really fast. There is so much already said about how hard is it and what will happen at the end of this crisis, plenty of theories about the current world situation. However, I believe that a real meaningful reflection can only be objective once this is all over.
COVID – 19 has become the reason for the whole world to realise how interconnected and interdependent we all are. There has never been a situation like this where the entire planet has slowed down for the same reason, fighting for the same cause and suffering the same pain.
Therefore in this article, I would like to remind the world of an Italian doctor, educator, feminist and one of the world’s most brilliant and original thinkers – Maria Montessori.
A woman with a great vision for the future of education and how can it change the world we live in.
Born in 1870 Montessori was the first woman to graduate in medicine from the University of Rome. Her work, passion and vision of ‘teaching’ revolutionised education and laid the foundation for World Peace and Cosmic Education. Her global view of world problems and why early education is the way to transform society and create a better future has very strong influence today.
I have been deeply inspired by Dr Montessori vision of education and forward-thinking approach, which were way ahead of her time. Nevertheless, there is one factor of the method which deeply touched me, and inspired me to think profoundly and understand education in a completely different way. I believe that it was also the leading awareness and message she wanted to send to the world, the idea of the Cosmic Education.
The fact that we all are interconnected and interdependent, she emphasised that everyone has an individual gift and role in society and that the Montessori education provides everyone with the freedom to embrace and express that gift. The principles of Cosmic Education apply to life and provided a structure which aims to engage the whole personal development of a child into the exploration of life itself. This exploration will allow the children to see the “big picture” and the order in the Universe and realise that we all have an important role to play in supporting the society and environment we live in.
Montessori had a profound respect for the child and the need to treat children with dignity, trust and patience is fundamental to her educational approach. Her faith in the child extended to a deep concern for the future of humanity.
She saw the stage with young children as the greatest opportunity available to us to contribute to some fundamental progress for humankind.
Dr Montessori reminded us that this is where we should all start: with the trust, the honesty the interest and the enthusiasm of the young child if we wish to stimulate in children a new orientation towards peace in the world. She saw world peace as the most worthy aim.
Montessori’s View on Peace
Peace is often assumed to relate to the ending or absence of war, conflict or aggression. Montessori vision of peace involves social harmony, love, justice, the pursuit of knowledge; the cooperation of individuals and groups for the betterment of humanity – this peace is an active rather than passive state. Montessori also believed that the world could only attain a genuine state of peace if individuals had first acquired their own inner peace.
Thus the real work in creating peace is through education where the role of education is in nurturing children to support the unfolding of their inner peace. Education must not be seen merely as teaching, the passing on of facts, or the process of acquiring culture. Rather it must aid the development of the whole personality and will involve parents as well as educators. Education must foster the development of people who value themselves, who feel in control of their lives, for only then they can direct their energies to a wider community and work to build a better world. The fulfilment of this goal is the foundation for social harmony which constitutes a genuine state of peace.
Maria Montessori believed that the key to a peaceful future lay with the child and that it was the nature of childhood experiences which determined an adult’s character and personality.
In accepting that growth towards a state of inner peace provides a foundation for World Peace, then NO individual is powerless. The work of Maria Montessori provides another source of ideas for anyone who recognises that the individual has a significant role to play in our aspiration for peace.
People who have been touched by Montessori comprise a gloriously diverse group. Montessori graduates in the public eye include Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page; Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon; Will Wright – creator of The Sims and Spore computer games; singer Taylor Swift and many more. These are just a few high achieving humans who credit at least a part of their success to the Montessori method of education for a variety of reasons.
It might seem that nowadays Montessori is “modern” or that it is a “buzz” and that is why parents choose it for their children. The Montessori method is much more than just a new educational system, it’s a philosophy and a way of living. If more families and household around the world try to grasp the core of Dr Montessori’s global vision of education and adopt the method as a “lifestyle” this would change the direction of the entire world and will resolve so many problems which we are already facing.
As a conclusion, I can state that in today’s world full of unpredictable events, we as parents, educators and responsible humans, must profoundly accept the fact that the children we are raising today would be independently living in the society in another 10 or 15 years from now. The future belongs to them, and one of the most valuable acts towards them is to preserve their individuality and encourage them to embrace their uniqueness. As I think that this is the only way to educate an independent, responsible and creative child who will grow to become an adult aware of themselves and the world which surrounds him/her.
I strongly believe that the Montessori method lays the foundation for the education for the future where children’s authenticity will be firmly protected, and they will have the influence and status which will allow them to impact society rather than be forced to fit in it.