An excerpt from Michael Strong's "Be the Solution"
“I don’t claim to have a particular solution. While I can offer profoundly better approaches to training intellectuality and independent thought…I know other educators who are better than I am at creating respect and reverence, who are better at creating awareness and self-discipline, who are better at creating physical vitality and rugged toughness, and who are better at creating aesthetic delight and musical joy. We need to blend these and other approaches to discover what works. Each of us needs to be able to choose our own combinations and educational partners.
The more deeply I’ve thought about how to create a comprehensive educational solution to this problem the more I’ve been daunted by the scale of the problem. But no one individual should or could solve it. If thousands of individual educators were allowed to work with others to create institutions that exemplified their own solutions, our society would gradually begin to figure out these problems on a large scale. Many thousands of wonderful human beings would, bit-by-bit, here and there, begin to discover, create, evolve and then disseminate and improve better ways of life. A transformative education that cultivates the attitudes and appetites, the habits and customs, the fashions and fantasies, the virtues and ideals of future generations offers a virtually untapped resource for increasing human well-being. In addition, many of the chronic problems facing modernity, including such diverse phenomena as environmental degradation, cancer, immune system disorders, poverty, racism, addictive behaviors, crime, and spousal and child abuse may ultimately require for their solution deep cultural changes that can only be achieved by means of transformative educational techniques not yet imagined.”- Michael Strong, “Be the Solution” Of course we all know, including Michael Strong himself, that Montessori IS one of those techniques and it IS already available.
As Montessorians, we need to be relentless in our efforts of sharing our story. It begins locally, at your school. It begins with “filling the chair”, the observers chair in the classroom. Keeping this chair full at least one day a week if not everyday all day…is Montessori’s trump card. Unless those outside of Montessori see it, they won’t believe it.
The transformative education that is Montessori is one of, if not THE solution, that our children and society so desperately need. What is your school doing to bring this to more children? How are we working with other Montessori schools to support each other’s efforts? For those schools that only have primary programs…are you actively partnering with Montessori schools that have elementary programs and establishing “feeder” networks? The answers to these questions and so many more will determine the rate of success for Montessori today and throughout the 21st century.