“It is a truism to say that we live in an inter-connected and interdependent world. There is hardly any issue today that does not reverberate across borders, and indeed across generations, that does not require the world to come together to act, that does not demand equity and solidarity. Yet do we live accordingly? Do we take this interconnectedness into account in words or actions?” These are the words of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the 2022-2026 mandate. With global issues being at the forefront of social media, it is no wonder many people, including children feel anxious about the world around them today. In fact, a key study by the Office of National Statistics found that one in ten children now suffer from mental health problems including stress, anxiety and depression. What has changed?
Children of all ages have access to technology today that they did not have in the past. While technology can have many wonderful benefits including access to better health, nutrition, improved production, and infrastructure- we have in turn given the world’s wealthiest and most powerful platforms such as Google and Facebook access to our inner thoughts and private lives. Children are then given access to external intelligence through the use of advanced technology which can expose them to digital bullying and other negative influences beyond our imagination.
Maria Montessori spoke about technology as a threat 86 years ago. The aim of Montessori education is to enable children to develop the fundamental capacities needed to become happy and fulfilled adults who contribute to this society by providing an environment that supports natural development. Authentic Montessori principals include:
· Mixed age groups which not only offers a wide range of activities to spark children’s interest but enables them to learn from others and help others.
· Freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of activities that are developmentally challenging and appropriate.
· Exploration to find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correcting them independently.
· Respect for each child as an individual.
· Respect for others, the community, and the environment.
The United Nations agreed upon five specific global issues to watch for in 2022, and created goals, many of which align with Maria Montessori’s philosophy and pedagogical principles. Those principles in which she created by observing the child were so intuitively correct, neuroscience is supporting and confirming her theories. Now, it is our responsibility to aid in the development and improvement of the society at large through our children which are the future.