A teacher must begin by studying his own defects, his own evil tendencies,
rather than by being excessively preoccupied with a child’s tendencies.
—Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
In this on-going, yet presently heightened time of race-based brutality, murder, and psychological trauma, we all find ourselves needing/wanting different things.
As a black woman, racism white supremacy impacts me (Maati) in ways that are unique to me and my personal life experiences. It dictates the ways in which I raise my children, how I approach equity work, physically move in public spaces, and navigate relationships with colleagues. It influences how I teach children and my engagement with families in my school community. My experience with racism white supremacy impacts the insights I bring to Montessori philosophy, how I view the world, and ultimately how I fulfill my cosmic task.
NCMPS holds the vision of an education system committed to human flourishing for all children. With this vision as our guide, NCMPS works to make Montessori education rooted in equity available, accessible and sustainable for all families, children, staff, and teachers across the country. Public Montessori schools serve large numbers of the children and adults most impacted by racism and minoritization, and we are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with these schools and their communities in the fight to overcome injustice.
There may be times when our actions, whether professional or personal, feel like but a drop of water in an ocean of wrong. And, yet, despair is not an option. The luxury of despair is a privilege in itself. So we at NCMPS commit and recommit each day to being better revolutionaries and allies, listening when others speak, speaking out when others can’t, and getting up when we stumble.
Together, we encourage you—as a member of the Montessori community, as a world citizen, and as a human being—to reflect on and center your own self-care during this time in a way that will allow you to do any or all of the following:
Unapologetically interrogate/mitigate biased thinking.
Openly challenge privilege and be receptive if/when that privilege is challenged by another.
Authentically elevate your practice of anti-racist anti-bias teaching. As Montessorians we have a moral imperative to dismantle systems of oppression that destroy the hearts, minds, and lives of children and families.
Lastly, we encourage you to strengthen your advocacy and commit to deeper levels of allyship while practicing radical love! This is a type of love that involves community building, demands truth seeking, and requires that we shed light on evil tendencies, fear, and deception beginning first with ourselves.
Remember, you are a part of a collective. Please utilize and share the resources here!
An educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor.
—Lerone Bennett, Jr.
Our world provides us with endless opportunities to make daily choices about where we stand. Will you choose to be an oppressor or will you choose to be a revolutionary? Please remember that exercising the privilege not to choose is also a choice that speaks volumes!
Maati Wafford, NCMPS Race and Equity Advisor
Sara Suchman, NCMPS Acting Executive Director
And the NCMPS Team