In so many ways, this is not business as usual. And, yet, when so much has changed, what Montessori teaches about child development, fundamental needs, and human flourishing has not changed. Rather, it offers us a northstar to turn to as we move forward in serving students and families. And, Montessori schools have moved into this new space with commitment, grace and love. After an initial rush to action, we are seeing schools and teachers leaning intentionally into what matters most to children–belonging and connection to community, purpose and accomplishment in work. We are humbled and awed as we watch schools and teachers across the country rising to the occasion of following the child from afar as they:
- Move mountains so that all children can access not only educational resources but also food and shelter, as they work to address inequities that, always present, are further exacerbated
- Prioritize social-emotional support to their families and students, creating community and individual connections through whatever means necessary
- Work hand-in-hand with parents to offer students developmentally appropriate structures that work for both parents and children, starting from the beginning–as though the first days in a new classroom
- Commit to these structures fostering functional independence, and balancing freedom with responsibility
- Create rich choices in lessons, projects, research, experiments, reading buddies, discussion groups, circle time, and song to provide experiences that are interactive, connected to community, and personally meaningful to students
This time will pass and children will return to their classrooms. As a community we fear what they may have lost academically, emotionally and spiritually. But when we open our ears and hearts to the creativity, ingenuity, dedication and love this community is showing up with every day, we are also buoyed by the hope in newfound ways of connecting, learning, and adapting.
One test of the correctness of educational procedure
is the happiness of the child.
Sara Suchman, Executive Director