Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) is a physician from Italy. She lived between the two Great Wars, and as an educator, she witnessed the disastrous impacts of wars and violence on children's minds and competence. When seeing the low performance of children due to the wars in her country, she realized that to promote education and success, it is essential that schools be set in harmonious, tranquil environment which is inductive of learning.
The peace ambassador Prem Rawat said in his teachings that education or ‘Knowledge' is vital to cultivate each individual's inner strengths and potential. Likewise, if the school environment is set in such a way as to support the natural desire for knowledge, then it is certain that children will learn best. Let us analyze Montessori's pedagogy in promoting peace in children.
Natural environment promotes education
When children are threatened or feel uncomfortable because of the environment where their schooling is located, it is impossible for them to acquire any skills and knowledge. In fact, negative feelings will fill their mind if the classroom environment constitutes a threat to them, which will deprive them of the desire to learn.
Montessori pedagogy in peace education for children
Children as independent learners
Exposure to the natural environment is the promoter of education as it enables children to observe what is going on around them and learn after. This is like the case of a 2-year-old child from the neighbor, who had to be left alone by her parents with their neighbors when they went to work. Each day, she was exposed to offensive languages from drunkard neighbors. How shocking it was for her parents to discover that whenever their daughter spoke, she said something so abusive and detrimental.
Besides, the child tended to act with violence even against her parents, especially when they showed her right from wrong. This implies that through exposure and observation, children can learn violence or peace. It is possible for children to become independent learners in peace study.
However, to promote peace in them, it is essential that they observe good examples of peaceful families to instill the idea of peace in their mind. Their absorbent mind will make them act for peace in due time since they have accumulated adequate knowledge about living in harmony.
Focusing on the child's personnel development
In some countries, parents often confuse correcting children to punishment. Besides, disobedient or misbehaved children are subjected to corporal punishment like slippering or grounding. The problem is that sometimes, the children do not understand their misdeeds at all; and yet, they are severely beaten or punished.
The little girl in the previous context is a case in point. She used abusive, offensive language even towards her parents because she thought it was the normal way to speak with adults.
- The Montessori Theory approach highlights the necessity to follow the child carefully in their education and correct them if necessary.
- It is vital to know the differences between correction and punishment.
In brief, the Montessori principle of independence learning supports what Prem Rawat said in his messages of peace, which says that inner peace is within each individual. In addition, it is crucial to follow the child's development and correct them when problems arise, in order to respect them and nurture peace in them.