Diversified Unity In Montessori Education

By Morenike Taiwo

Hello, wonderful people. Yes, it has been a while on your educative and inspirational column, Montessori Pedagogy. The gap in serving this column was due to some circumstances beyond our immediate control.

I am however pleased to let you know that Montessori Pedagogy is back and repackaged to further inform, educate, and offer support to teachers, parents and interested stakeholders in moulding a child through learning.

In this edition, we will discuss Diversified Unity in Montessori Education, it promises to worth its reading time.

Diversified Unity:

This is the ability of different individuals to acknowledge, value and respect each other’s race, gender, language, colour, culture, ethic, belief, and national identities as different branches that belong to one big tree which is our common humanity all over the world.

Maya Angelo said, and I quote “We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their colour”.

Reason for this conversation:

All over the world today, racial discrimination continues despite the broad exposure and education that is happening all around the world. We read in the newspaper and see on social media and internet that in many parts of the world that there are millions of people protesting against racial injustice.

Young children might be overhearing our conversations or getting their information from the media, internet or from older siblings. Our children might be asking important questions about their racial identity and other differences.

We as adult in the lives of these children might choose to remain silent but this will not be helpful to these absorbent minds who are busy adapting to their time and place in the world.

The adult in these children’s lives could also choose to respond meaningfully to their questions so that we might help them to communicate their feelings about race, gender, racial identity, and other differences in a positive way.

Why we are having this courageous conversation:

Conversations around race, racial identity and gender discrimination can get to be very uncomfortable.

The courage to have difficult conversations regarding moral, intellectual, emotional, and relational behaviours begins with us the adult. We should start by examining our own bias and prejudices that make us believe that our racial or gender identities is superior or inferior to others.

‘Though it is important to note that having bias is also an attribute of being human. But the moment we recognise our own ideology, patterns, and thoughts, we can start to transcend our biases and eventually come to terms with celebrating our differences as part of being human.

Dr. Maria Montessori said, and I quote “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education”. And our first responsibility as adults in the lives of these children is to educate in all areas, morally, intellectually, emotionally and relationally.

In the Montessori prepared environment, every child is treated equally with love and respect.

Children from mixed ages, genders and colours work together and independently. The older children help the younger ones, and the younger ones help one another. In so doing the beauty of this great work is appreciated.

There is no division of work in a Montessori environment on the basis of race gender or colour. All the work of the children are valued and appreciated.

There is a great order in the Montessori classroom environment. Children learn to order and organise their own lives at a very tender age.

There is real harmony in the Montessori classroom environment as children work alongside one another as equal members of the group and community.

In conclusion of the first part of this two-part article, Dr Maria Montessori said, and I quote “Knowing what we must do is neither fundamental nor difficult, but to comprehend which resumptions and vain prejudices we must rid ourselves of in order to be able to educate our children is most difficult.”