Questions and Answers
Question: Do you have any helpful resources concerning Montessori education? I have a friend who is planning to send his kids to a Christian school, where the Montessori-principles for education is used. If I understand it correctly, Montessori education is closer to new age than to the Bible.
Answer: I hope to find time to give a more complete answer later, but for now I will simply post some information that might guide you. First, look at this statement of beliefs from the International Montessori Council website. Notice how the Montessori philosophy fits into the UN plan for Global Education:
"We believe that:
• Our actions as adults should mirror what we teach our children.
• A culturally diverse, inclusive attitude creates a respectful, collaborative culture that is essential to our mission and vision.
• Maintaining absolute integrity by communicating openly and honestly among ourselves and with those we serve is essential to our success.
• Recognizing and respecting the individual needs of everyone involved in our work helps build a "sense of community" among us.
• Our commitment to the educational experience encompasses academic excellence, teaching of universal values and nurturing the spirit, global understanding and service.
• A doorway to world peace through the education of children is possible in our time.
• Parents are full members who stand with us as partners in the Montessori educational process...."
The following quotes from an article titled "Religion and Montessori" show the beliefs of the Maria Montessori, the founder and inspiration behind the Montessori philosophy. You can visit the website to see the quotes in context.
”In the book, 'The child, society and the The Child, Society and the World: Unpublished Speeches and Writings, Dr Montessori addresses the question on religion, first within a religious setting and then to a secular group. She says...
“We must remember that religion is a universal sentiment which is inside everybody and has been inside every person since the beginning of the world. It is not something which we must give to the child". Maria Montessori …
“According to our educational theory, the child is driven to develop by way of the needs and tendencies that are innate to all of humanity. What we - as Montessorians- implement in our prepared environments rests on the notion that it must correspond to these natural drives….
“Dr Montessori identified religious sentiment to be an expression of the human tendency toward elevation. … that tendency that urges humanity to go beyond the every day, mundane aspects of life, and uplift their souls to spiritual realities.
“The intention is to be one with god, by establishing spiritual ties with god.
“Just as language has many expressions: English, Swedish, Swahili, and so forth, so does elevation express itself by way of different creeds: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and many different belief systems in order to communicate with and about god.
“… little children…. are immersed in an spiritual atmosphere". …
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Dr Montessori was not only brought up as a roman catholic, but also remained to be one throughout her life. …
“Yet, it is important to state that Montessori’s reference to religion was not limited to catholicism. In the same manner that she did not expect everyone to speak italian, she did not limit her discoveries within the spiritual sphere of christianity….
“Confirming the existence of this spirituality wherever she went, and seeing the many religious forms it took, Montessori felt free to talk about her investigations about the spiritual development of the child: ‘In India I have given a course in religion to people of many different religions, hindus, moslems, catholics and others’….
“... she could be classified as a positivist... she very much tried to reconcile the scientific approach with the revelations - spiritual in nature - she had witnessed… throughout the world and among many different creeds....
"RELIGION IN THE DIFFERENT STAGES
(0-2 - Love for the environment)
1st stage: 2-4 - Sensory period
2nd stage: 5-7(10) - Instruction period
3rd stage: Adolescence
… “The child unconscious drinks in divine power, whilst the reasoning consciousness of the adult is but human.”
"...protect in their development those natural energies implanted in them by the guiding hand of god."
For more information, see Montessori Online, The INTERNATIONAL MONTESSORI Index and American Montessori Society
Notes from my files:
1. For more than three decades, Robert Muller served as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. His vision of a World Core Curriculum, as outlined in his book New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, was endorsed by the influential Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the curriculum branch of the NEA (National Education Association) and is being used as model or basis for the core curriculum adopted in nations around the world.
Muller's driving vision is a world united through global education and evolving spiritually toward ultimate perfection. He admits that his beliefs are based on the channeled teachings of "Tibetan Master Djhwal Khul," a spirit guide to occultist Alice Bailey. Speaking at an international conference on world peace sponsored by the UN Population Fund, the University of Peace, and the Government of Costa Rica, Muller said,
need a new world education. Global education, namely the education of the children into
our global home and into the human family is making good progress. But we have to go
beyond. We need the cosmic education foreseen by the religions and by people like Maria
Montessori. We need a holistic education, teaching the holism of the universe and of the
This statement became part of the Declaration of Human Responsibilities for Peace and Sustainable Development adopted at "The Conference in Search of the true Meaning of Peace," held in Costa Rica from 25 to 30 June, 1989.
In his acceptance speech of the 1989 UNESCO Peace Education Prize on September, 1990, in Paris, Robert Muller shared his dream of a new world education program. Part of his dream was:
"That all human beings of this earth become instruments of peace, thus fulfilling the cosmic function deeply engraved in each of us."
For more information (with documentation) about Robert Muller, his occult beliefs and his World Core Curriculum, click Brave New Schools, Chapter 2- The International Agenda
2. Phillip Gang, an early leader in the Montessori movement, served as a member of the original design team for UNESCO's Global Education Project led by Robert Muller. Later, he founded and headed the Global Alliance to Transform Education (GATE).
3. While Montessori Schools may vary considerably, they generally promote an acceptance of the global spirituality needed to build world citizens. The following story shows what can happen in a Montessori schools that welcome the more overt demonstrations of contemporary paganism. This example may seem unusually dramatic, but it shows the nature of the beast behind the nice, peace-loving façade.
A few years ago, I talked with a Christian teacher in a Montessori school in Georgia. (I'll call her Lynn). She had called to ask about the significance of a sacred red circle--or ellipse--marked on the floor of the second grade classroom. The second grade teacher had warned her students never to touch or cross that line except to participate in certain classroom rituals.
Lynn called again a week later to tell me about some of the occult manifestations in this elementary school. One little boy tortures and kills little animals, another boy bites other students, and third boy threatens to use magic power to burn his teachers. A fourth child had collapsed on the floor that week writhing and shaking in a frightening demonstrations of demonic possession.
"All the kids are hyper and angry," said Lynn. "They're wild and uncontrollable, full of vulgar words. They fly off the handle for no reason. They never laugh. I teach at church in the morning, and my Sunday school kids don't act that way."
Some of these violent expressions may be explained by the occult connections of its teachers. For example, the head of the school belongs to a spiritist "church," and a second grade teacher admits to having at least two demonic "spirit guides" whom she met through sweat lodge ceremonies and a Ouija Board.
But occult connections are becoming increasingly common in schools everywhere. In A Twist of Faith I tell about a hike in Muir Woods with a elementary school teacher from Kansas City who admitted she was also a witch and a lesbian. Countless women involved in feminist spirituality (goddess worship, witchcraft, Native American shamanism, etc.) are teaching their beliefs to our children in schools across the country.
Since Lynn had spent 20 years on a Navajo reservation, her Montessori principal told her to lead a summer camp teaching Native American culture. The school has already ordered a teepee from an Indian craftsman. As a Christian, she was naturally reluctant to teach from a curriculum titled, "A Study to Bond all Creatures of Earth to Each Other." She asked me to pray for her.
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