Happy Birthday, Maria Montessori. Montessori founded a method and philosophy of education that specifically serves children by treating them as individuals. The Montessori method is unique in that the teacher serves as a facilitator who treats each student as an individual with value who is competent to make important decisions. Pedagogically, the Montessori method operates from the perspective that children have “absorbent minds,” and need to be encouraged to sustain a natural curiosity. Typically, Montessori schools go through approximately middle school age.
In 1907, Montessori opened her first school, Casa dei Bambini. While a devout Catholic, Montessori never married the father of her son, Mario, just proving we are all complex human beings. As an educator of over 20 years, I have been consistently impressed with students coming out of Montessori schools. I would strongly recommend reading Education and Peace, which does a marvelous job of articulating a pedagogical approach for global citizens.
I would also like to talk about the late Princess Diana. It was 14 years ago today that Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris. Diana was one of the very first celebrities to help combat the AIDS epidemic. During the height of fear in the 1980’s, Diana took the hand of a patient with AIDS helping to emphasize that one could not contract the virus through physical contact. She also used her celebrity for the international campaign against landmines. It would be nice to see more celebrities working for social justice and lending their voices for equality and to end discrimination. Diana certainly makes people like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry look absolutely pathetic!