Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned an elevated human consciousness and new society (Webb). As educators, guardians and partners how do we support the students in our care such that they grow to possess the capacity to interact in the world as active and engaged global citizens committed to social justice, and the creation of a more peaceful world?
The answer resides in the union of two fundamental aspects of Dr. Montessori's approach to education: the development of one’s spiritual equilibrium, and the fostering of a cosmic consciousness.
“Moral education is the source of that spiritual equilibrium on which everything else depends” (Montessori, “From Childhood to Adolescence” 73). One’s spiritual equilibrium is the consistently developing spiritual center that continues to crystallize throughout a person’s life as experiences provide additional opportunities for reflection and growth.
One’s cosmic consciousness is the profound sense of place, connection, and responsibility within the universe - initially fostered through the far-reaching impressionistic lessons of the cultural curriculum, and then further developed through the student's work done in service of one's community. “To the young child we give guides to the world and the possibility to explore it through his own free activity; to the older child we must give not only the world, but the cosmos and a clear vision of how the cosmic energies act in the creation and maintenance of our globe” (Montessori, “Cosmic Education” 7).
Taken as a unified whole, one's spiritual equilibrium and cosmic consciousness provides the moral compass and ethical map to navigate the work ahead; that is, the evolution of a new human, one capable of comprehending the great potential and possibility for our species to end suffering, advocate for justice, and promote peace. “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity” (Montessori, “To Educate the Human Potential” 5-6).
* * *
Montessori, Maria. Education and Peace. Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson Publishing
Company, 2007. Print.
---, Maria. From Childhood to Adolescence. Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson Publishing
Company, 2007. Print.
---, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company,
---, Maria. To Educate the Human Potential. Madras, India: Kalakshetra Press, 1948. Print.
Montessori, Mario. Cosmic Education. Amsterdam: Association Montessori Internationale.
Webb, Seth. A School of Experience in the Elements of Social Life. Web blog post. Finding
Our Center - Reaching Out. 21 July. 2016.