Montessori Education Week and Community

This week, (February 26 through March 3), is Montessori Education Week – celebrating the 110-year anniversary of Montessori Education!

Hershey Montessori School started almost forty years ago, in 1978 as a rental space with eight students. Today, there are 271 students and over 1,000 alumni who are living and working all over the world. (You can take a look at the history of Hershey Montessori School here).

Two of the greatest gifts that the alumni have been given are both the community of Hershey Montessori School, and the importance of community that was fostered in us at an early age.

The “Community Song” was sung at the annual Thanksgiving Feasts along with the entire school, allowing us as students to feel as though we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. “Look around and you will see community, a family… we are brothers, we are one.” We would work together on projects that benefited the community like preparing meals, taking care of the animals in the classrooms, and helping each other when needed. There was a post on the alumni Facebook group about the log cabin at Huntsburg Campus that was built by staff and students. It was wonderful to see comments from alumni who have fond memories of accomplishing that together. We were taught formal conflict resolution in elementary with elements of it at earlier ages to help foster peace and the ability to work well with each other.

 

(Photo: Hershey Montessori students circa 1992)

Matt Bernardina who attended Hershey from 1991 to 1994 said, “The Montessori system, as well as my teachers and fellow classmates, helped me grow into who I am today…” He mentions the community around him being impactful on his education and growth. Dr. Montessori recognized the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” as a truth that she implemented into the educational system she developed.

(Photo: Hershey Montessori adolescent students circa 2002)

It’s a priority for Montessori schools to promote peace in the classroom: establishing and encouraging community is a big part of that. Respecting each other’s differences, recognizing kinship with those around us, and working on projects together were all ways Hershey Montessori School instilled peace throughout our time there. This is something that we carry with us in all future communities we join. Dr. Montessori said, “Establishing peace is the work of education.”

“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.” – Dr. Montessori

Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator