“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” — Dr. Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
Communication in today’s world has many avenues. Just imagine that it was only 30 years ago that both cell phones and the Internet took hold. Information that was once exchanged verbally is now delivered via texts, emails, tweets, posts, and pictures. It is now more relevant than ever to continue to cultivate and enhance face-to-face, interpersonal relationship skills — and this is something that Montessori education certainly strives for. Instilling the relevance of these crucial interpersonal communication skills in each and every student is one of the hallmarks of our program.
This past week, the entire Hershey staff had the opportunity to attend an all-day workshop on Needs-Based Communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication (NVC). NVC is a method of communication that transforms old patterns of reactiveness and defensiveness into compassion and empathy with the hope of improving both communication as well as relationships.
The workshop was led by Gregg Kendrick, founder of Basileia, LLC. NVC greatly aligns with Montessori pedagogy as it creates a space for attention and respect in every moment. This is something that we certainly can use more of in today’s world. NVC lays a solid foundation by incorporating observation, feelings, and needs with both empathy and honesty. If practiced regularly, this model can enrich and strengthen communication.
In the coming months, the staff will connect what was learned and incorporate more of these skills with students, parents, and each other, to promote a more harmonious and enriching community.
To learn more about NVC, visit Basileia.org.
A Close Look at Immigration
Immigration has been a central focus of media outlets everywhere. Reporters, commentators, and the general public are expressing views and interpretation of law. Hershey Montessori Guide, John Buzzard, saw the opportunity in seeking greater understanding for his students as they are preparing to enter and contribute to society as young adults.
When law meets humanity
John began by extending an invitation to George Koussa to visit Hershey students at the Adolescent Campus in Huntsburg, Ohio. Mr. Koussa, who is a Syrian immigrant, accepted and openly shared his experience as an immigrant, along with his thoughts around current immigration policies in the United States.
John additionally spoke with Hershey Montessori students about their perspectives and thoughts on having Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) come to speak to them as a group. The students were supportive of the idea, knowing that hearing from different perspectives is beneficial, and that this particular perspective is extremely important given it is representative of the U.S. Government.
John and his students extended an invitation, which then led to an informative visit from Valentina Seeley and Kris Crowley from ICE. In spite of the many controversies currently surrounding ICE, Mr. Seeley and Mr. Crowley were gracious and kind as they presented a wealth of information and documents to help inform and illustrate the challenges and protocols of immigration. The students respectfully asked challenging questions of Mr. Seeley and Mr. Crowley. Hershey Montessori School has nearly two dozen boarding students from countries outside the United States. Students saw value in the opportunity to meet with ICE, and several committed to continue their own research on some of the more controversial topics.
Both guests expressed how impressive Hershey students were and how much they appreciated having a reasoned conversation around their work, which is not always the case in their professional work.
A short time later, Hershey students embarked on a trip to Downtown Cleveland to observe a Naturalization Ceremony. It was an invaluable experience that put faces to names and envisioned real lives over simple stories. It allowed students to experience the immigration process as both a logistical matter and a personal one.
Hearing about life-changing issues is important, but immersing ourselves in the process allows for greater comprehension. As adolescents take their place in the next generation of influencers and decision makers, they must be properly prepared and ready to tackle global concerns like these.