Education for a New World
“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking"
Education for Peace, Dr Maria Montessori
The 29th AMI World Congress presents a theme of hope and inspiration. In 2020 the world was met with a disruptive challenge with COVID-19, a challenge which has raised new questions, new thoughts, new practices and an abundance of ideas on how we can best educate our populations in this 'new world'. The fundamental education principles so fluently established by Dr Maria Montessori remain not only relevant, but also a guiding light for educators around the world.
A Day by Day look at how we intend to develop our theme “Education for a New World”.
The Universal Child
“If education is to be reformed, it must be based upon the children.”
The theme of the congress “Education for a New World” places a high importance on the great potentials inherent in children. Maria Montessori observed this potential and provided us with an education model that nurture’s a child’s healthy development. She also honours the significance of the child’s role in the construction of a peaceful and harmonious society.
In these difficult times, extraordinary measures are required. Education stands as a hallmark strategy as we strive to educate for a new world. Montessori wrote: “If salvation and help are to come, it is from the child, for the child is the constructor of man, and so of society. The child is endowed with an inner power that can guide us to a more enlightened future.”
We embrace the concept of the Universal Child within the vast and diverse world of humanity and nature. The child grows up surrounded by rich and diverse cultures, developing oneself in ways that reflect a common human culture as well as very specific cultures and traditions found in the child’s family and the community.
The Universal Child is at one with self while at the same time at one with others. A child interacts with others as both a teacher and a learner, and brings to us a great opportunity as well as a source of joy. Childhood is the opportunity to create loving acceptance and appreciation for self and others, to overcome society’s long established attitudes of racism and prejudice, and to regard the human race to be as one with nature.
Our understanding of growth and development in our rapidly changing world has emphasised the importance of sound education principles and supporting children to reach adulthood as adaptable human beings.
The Universal Child carries a responsibility that we prefer not to be placed in a burdensome way. The adult supports this Universal Child as providers on a pathway for growth. Everyone contributes to this pathway, be it the teacher, the parent or other community members. The Universal Child is our inspiration for the new world.
Embracing our Future
“We then become witnesses to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New Man, who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to his clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to mould the future of mankind.”
The Absorbent Mind – Dr Maria Montessori
The future is now. What we imagined just a few years ago could hardly match the realities we see today. We live in a time of rapid change, relative uncertainty about the future, and are faced with enormous challenges that we collectively must overcome. Instead of progressing with fear of what may lie ahead, we embrace the possibilities before us and envision a world of immense possibilities.
Well-equipped with our knowledge and admiration of this Universal Child, we turn our attention to what we may achieve in the years ahead. What does an education for a new world look like? Will we rise to the challenges in front of us and create better ways of schooling children, efficient and sustainable systems to combat the effects of climate change, to build the kind of future deserving of an enlightened new generation?
This is the time to talk of big ideas as we address the future needs of our society. In line with Dr Montessori’s regard for our cosmic task, a seed is planted within the child as one who becomes the “hope and promise for mankind”. That unknown future will be waiting with all its glory and with all its challenges. Let us explore the ways in which we can achieve new heights, greater understanding and needed optimism about the world our young children will eventually live in as productive participants in this future society.
Education for a New World – Where do we begin?
There is no better time than now to prepare for the future. Each participant who becomes inspired by what is learned at this international congress will plant the seeds of change. They will take back to their home a firm commitment to act. This is the day in which we share practical tools, easily implemented strategies, and new ideas to return home with to implement.
Our Universal Child facing a future of possibilities is now ready for what lies ahead. Our support will empower all to embrace a call to action. This call may transform thinking, align efforts and bring to our lands the nutrients needed for a world hungry for positive solutions when faced with such difficult challenges.
We know the potential lies in the child, but we also know there is an untapped resource in our youth who have become our ‘lost citizens’. We also know we can provide help to the vulnerable in developing nations, or support to the elderly in western societies. We can offer a hand to communities struggling to support families in raising their youngest members, inspire the educators with new ways to educate, and support the highest respect and regard for our natural world.
We are already doing much to create a sustainable future. Undoubtedly, there is more we can do to make this world a better place. Education for a new world is for all, and begins when we decide to act. This is the day in which we call for action!