Maria Montessori and Peace Education
by Grainne Murray
“The child will develop a kind of philosophy which teaches this unity of the universe; this is the very thing to motivate his interest and to give him a better insight into his own place and task in the world and at the same time presenting a chance for the development of his creative energy.” -Maria Montessori
During the Early Childhood years Montessori students are introduced to the globe with its land and water forms and later they learn to name the earth’s continents. They begin to understand the concept of cultural differences through the exploration of people, animals and geography around the world. Cosmic education at the elementary level helps the child relate to the universe and to humanity in such a way that it enables him to understand the law and order underlying his existence, and to realize in himself all the developmental potential that is his own particular unique birthright, and at the same time, be able to accept and realize his personal responsibility in the universe and society. Cosmic Education enables the adolescent child to understand his place in the universe, by studying the contributions of those before him, and as a result the child is touched with a sense of generosity to all of humanity.
Dr. Montessori recognized that all of science and history tell portions of the same story: the continuing creation of the universe. Cosmic Education tells that story. In a uniquely Montessori way, the experience offers children context for, and reveals connections between, such subjects as astronomy, chemistry, geography, history, and biology, to name a few. “Learning” the academic subject matter, however, is secondary to a loftier educational goal. – Children of the Universe, Michael and D’Neil Duffy
It is through Cosmic Education that the child learns how the universe was prepared for him and what place he has in it. This gives the child a sense of intrinsic motivation to accept differences in others and to celebrate his own unique attributes without judgment. By developing gratitude for the universe and his own life within it, the child then takes on an awareness of receiving many gifts from other human beings they will never know. A sense of peace and respect for all living things is borne from the practice of cosmic education.