An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live. —Maria, Montessori, Education and Peace
Maria Montessori believed in peace. In a speech on the very subject, she is noted as saying, “True peace…suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world where harmony reigns.” Whilst there is no specific guideline on talking about race with children in Maria Montessori’s methodology, she alludes to tolerance and empathy – something that is important to us at St. Andrew’s Montessori.
We believe in the value of the individual; that children feel loved and at peace with their world. Recently, a couple of our classes engaged with two wonderful stories that encourage a positive, affirming look at self and we’d love to share these with you.
The Colours of Us was written by Karen Katz for her daughter, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala. The story is about seven-year-old Lena, who is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin but when she and her mother take a walk through the neighbourhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.
Marvelous Me: Inside and Out by Lisa Bullard is a story about Alex. There is no one else quite like Alex, with his special laugh, his grizzly hugs, and his own interesting thoughts. Alex is one of a kind, and this is noticed and celebrated, suggesting all children to do the same.
In different ways, each book draws attention to the similarities in one another as well as the differences that make each of us unique. Children are encouraged to relate to one another as human beings but also embrace the things that make them, and others, unique.
It’s great to be different – this is what makes life dynamic and interesting!
Photo Credit: Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash