It is perhaps a fact less known than it should be that Dr. Montessori was, first and foremost, a great humanitarian. Her educational research and work with the children was never motivated by fame and gain, or even the academic success it brought her, but a deep-seated desire to serve and better humanity: on an individual, social and global level.
Dr. Montessori believed – and we see every day the truth of her belief – that the key to human development lies within the child. She dreamed of a world of peace and harmony, of kindness, respect and dignity offered to each human being. She also knew that the only way to achieve this is by working through the child. For it is only the child who is still creating himself or herself and therefore capable of affecting true change, perhaps even breaking out of our shared human heritage of strife and conflict and building true peace.
Standing at the eve of an old year and preparing to welcome the New Year, many of us find this transition a time of reflection. As we consider the past, rejoice in the present and make a wish for the future, we would like to offer you some of Dr. Montessori’s words and wisdom on the topic of Education and Peace.
It is our hope that the following words bring you hope, as well as a renewed commitment to uplift our children and work together for a more peaceful future.
(The titles of the books below link to the Montessori-Pierson publishing company, where all of these wonderful volumes – and many others – may be purchased.)
“Our attitude towards the newborn child should not be one of compassion but rather of reverence before the mystery of creation, that a spiritual being has be confined within limits perceptible to us.”
The Secret of Childhood
“The child is endowed with an inner power which can guide us to a more enlightened future. Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human personalities.”
“Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be the victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.”
“To change a generation or nation, to influence it towards either good or ill (…) we must look to the child, who is omnipotent.”
Education for a New World
“The child is also capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity. He has shown us the true process of construction of the normal human being. We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them as a manifestation of their total freedom. We have seen them labour steadily, drawing on their own energies and developing them as they work.”
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind . If we therefore mind this embryo as our most precious treasure, we will be working for the greatness of humanity .”
Education and Peace