The progression of life, from birth to death, is in a single direction, ever onwards towards the end, but each individual life is both complicated and complex. Mix in Montessori and your life can and will change in ways you never thought possible. Why? And how?
The Montessori approach is much more than just a specific way of working with small children in a nursery setting. It is both ‘education for life’ and ‘lifelong education’ and it is holistic education on an eye-wateringly grand scale. Maria Montessori’s educational mission was not just to prepare children for living their lives, but to put them in touch with the universe. Her term for her vision was ‘cosmic education’. This is why workshop after workshop, and course after course, we hear the words, ‘This has changed my life!’ as yet another student realises the personal impact the study of the Montessori approach to education is having, and will continue to have, on his or her own life.
A striking example was when one workshop student just suddenly announced, ‘The fear is gone!’ She had previously spoken of being very anxious about anything to do with Maths, a phobia dating from her earliest experiences in school, but engaging with the beautiful clarity of the Montessori Maths materials had negated this fear. So, for her, the workshop had been a truly life-changing experience.
How does such a change come about? Well, it is to do with both zooming in and zooming out. Because the study of Montessori educational philosophy and principles shines a spotlight on children’s development and illuminates it in a way that sharpens our focus and gives clarity to much that we already instinctively know, it is easy to accept the validity of the approach and the truth of what Maria Montessori originally observed. We can now zoom in on the specifics of how to engage with children in a Montessori way. And imperceptibly, at the same time, we begin to zoom out, beyond our immediate preoccupation with children, to see the relevance of Montessori to the intricacies of our own lives and to embrace the changes it can bring.