A Message From Our Executive Director - December 2022
"The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind." –Maria Montessori
The holiday season ushers in the New Year where we look at how far we have come to know where we will aim to go next. In this issue of News and Views, we do the same and invite you to share some highlights of our experiences in both the recent summer and current fall seasons.
We see in the month of December, 2022, in pre-K through college classrooms everywhere, the routine of teachers observing and recording learning across multiple domains in their classrooms. This commitment to the practice of rigorous observation keeps advancing the scholarship of discovery, of application, and of teaching and learning for well over a century in the field of education. As this issue of News and Views launches, for instance, new teachers in pre-K we helped train in the COR Advantage tool this past month are now creating detailed reports on child and classroom progress. Their day-to-day includes now turning this data into action to foster both the child and pre-K system’s learning life.
And so, I share with you the above quote from among the first of Italy’s female physicians. Maria Montessori was also among the first in the field of early education to apply not only philosophies or opinions but also rigorous observation and testing to discern what educational approaches worked best. These labors led her to create replicable approaches that could duplicate results in terms of children’s growth and behavior. She developed this approach with children whose learning goals had been wrongfully cast aside, as they were seen as in need of nothing more than custodial care – because of developmental delays or because their parents labored from dawn to dusk.
Along the way, Maria Montessori developed child-centered methods that could be replicated as these teaching approaches built upon a core reliable foundation - the strengths of children’s natural joy of play and exploration. In so doing, she created classrooms where children universally were entrusted to lead their own learning. Just like how she defied conventions that kept women from prevailing in professions, Maria defied prevailing educational views and led in the creation of these novel classroom techniques worldwide. In these classrooms, she focused on applying replicable methods that amplified even the youngest of children’s natural desires to learn and to experience positive emotional climates. This resulted in engaged learning with children leading their own way into concentration, attention, and self-management, and thus the paramount goal of learning.
Her quote emphasizes what is borne from adults’ intention to see and experience, in every child, the miracles each new life can bear. She reminds us that our hopes for the future are rightly concentrated by investing in each and every child. She witnesses that carrying forth the conviction - to promote each child’s complete development - will advance all of our lives. Her life’s work is a testament to what a commitment to identifying replicable approaches can bear in global contexts – classrooms that put children in the driver’s seat to set upon their own exploration and discovery – so that together we may make this world where all can thrive in the freedom of living, loving, and learning.
My wish for you this season is to experience the warmth and hope of childhood, and of the experience of play and its consequence of great growth that freedom of exploration rewards us with.
–Ann Marie White, Ed.D.