“Order and discipline must be aimed at the attainment of human harmony, and any act that hinders the establishment of a genuine community of all mankind must be regarded as immoral and a threat to the life of society.”
Education and Peace, p. xiii
Dr. Maria Montessori believed in the value and worth of every child from the beginning of developing her pedagogical model for education. In Montessori schools, community is based on the assumption that every human being has value, gifts, and contributions to make. Classrooms are carefully prepared to promote inclusion, collaboration, valuing the perspective of others, and fostering a strong sense of self-worth.
Based on this foundation, The Children’s House staff have been actively educating ourselves in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Since 2018, we have worked with speakers, and consultants and engaged in dialogue with one another through shared experiences and readings. We believe that to be a place to support the raising of children who will establish a future that truly is a community of all humankind, it needs to start with the adults.
Currently, our DEIB committee is meeting regularly to engage in intentional focus to ensure our children have opportunities to learn, grow, and understand the greater world and all people in it. Fortunately, as a Montessori community, we were not starting from the ground floor. Our classrooms are rich with elements that expose and inspire them to see and be the beautiful diversity that is humankind.
In Nido and YCC, beautiful artwork hangs representing diverse artists and mediums, songs are sung from all over the world, and vocabulary is shared from many cultures, religions, and places in the world.
In Primary, books are carefully curated to ensure the representation of many different peoples, cultures, abilities, and family make-ups. Geography folders enable the exploration of the diversity included on every continent, through conversations inspired by photographs.
The Elementary classrooms include history lessons that broaden perspectives of how history is told. Students are encouraged to conduct studies of a diverse range of people and learn and share about how they have contributed to our global community. Read-aloud books representing a broad range of authors and characters inspire deep conversations among students.
Junior High students study history and movements throughout history, based on their interests. Itineraries for trips across the country are inspired by these studies and take students to real places where extraordinary events have occurred over time that have shaped the world we live in today. Critical thinking and understanding other perspectives unfold through shared reading and group discussion.
These examples just scratch the surface. Our classroom environments are rich with opportunities to build adults of the future who uphold Montessori’s vision of a peaceful world. We look forward to continuing our work together and offering ongoing ways to work together as parents, caregivers, and educators. Our commitment to DEIB here at The Children’s House has no point of arrival. Today, and for generations to come, we strive to be a community where every person feels valued, seen, and belongs.