I have been feeling profoundly grateful recently. This gratitude comes, in part, from being a member of a community who’s noble work is to serve childhood and adolescence at a deeply personal level - providing thoughtfully designed opportunities for our students to connect with and explore the universe and its many possibilities through their hands, hearts, and minds. We do this, not by following a weathered, prescribed, and rote program of education; rather, we partner with and shepherd our students much like expectant parents do: mindful of human development and the tendencies to which we are predisposed, and intentional with how we prepare ourselves and our environments to receive and serve.
I have also been considering the many curricular pathways that Maria Montessori shared with us so to explore and express our own gratitude through our studies with students. The Great Lessons, and embedded supplemental presentations, are rich experiences in the sciences and history, numeracy and literacy, to be sure; they are also pathways to gratitude: gratitude for our planet, our home, to be so perfectly positioned between the warmth of our great central star and the cold of deep space; gratitude for the earliest photosynthetic multicellular organisms on our young planet for filtering its toxic early atmosphere, making the air oxygen-rich and ready to support terrestrial life; gratitude for the lives of our hominid ancestors - bipedal, imaginative, tool making, and fire building; and more.
Indeed, in many lessons and in multiple writings and public addresses, Montessori reminds us of our human solidarity - across continents, culture, and time. She repeatedly returns to a theme of gratitude and unity, even when sharing her ideas during some of the darkest days of modern human history. Our collective strength is what we have created and shared, expanded upon, and developed further - so to bring peace and equanimity to more and more of the world’s citizens: reliable sources of nutrition, clean water, and medical care; education, and pathways out of poverty; nonviolent conflict resolution, and targeted social action - to name just a few. In thinking of those who have preceded us, preparing the way for our lives and work today I, too, offer my deepest thanks.
And lastly, in real time, I feel great gratitude for my colleagues and compatriots in this work - for bringing the world’s possibilities closer to our students and their families. Let us consider the gratitude that we each feel and carry with us. Let us embrace the opportunities we have to study, express, and deepen our appreciation of our own collective gifts today and in the days and weeks that follow.
Our work today, is the child’s world tomorrow.