Order and Beauty Prevail

By Judy Kline-Venaleck, Associate Head of School and Huntsburg Campus Director

Order…things in their place. It means a knowledge of the arrangement of objects in the child’s surroundings, a recollection of the place where each belongs. And this means that he can orient himself in his environment, possess it in all its details. We mentally possess an environment when we know it so as to find our way with our eyes shut, and find all we want within hands’ reach. Such a place is essentially for the tranquility and happiness of life.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

In the past several months, the Coronavirus has certainly turned our sense of order upside down. Covid’s impact — on how we educate our students, the economy, working remotely, juggling our family’s emotional well-being, racial strife and a divisive political landscape — is like nothing we have had to address in our modern society. Dr. Montessori emphasized order and beauty for children of all ages for a variety of reasons. For adolescents, emphasizing external order (the classroom, the adult, the response) allows the adolescent to establish their own internal order, which is an essential aspect in their development. Covid has encouraged (albeit forced) us to re-evaluate our established sense of order, so that we may continue to meet the adolescent’s needs and promote both safe and healthy social development. It has been a joy to see the students re-emerge from this displaced sense of order of the past several months to both re-establish, and continue to develop, their own internal order. As they do so, we will continue to be by their side guiding, encouraging, and fostering new pathways. These adolescents show us every day the resilience that is their foundation, the perseverance of their spirit and the essential pathway of hope.