occupy constructive education for peace

ArtistPablo Picasso
TypeOil on canvas
Dimensions349 cm × 776 cm (137.4 in × 305.5 in)
LocationMuseo Reina Sofia, Madrid
                   All that we have in this world we should give to the children who will 'Occupy' tomorrow. I say Occupy Constructive Education for Peace. Teach the children how to become confident independent thinkers and use the Montessori model to educate a new world of competent problem solvers. It is obvious that our current system is not working. We should not initiate our future generations into a world that fosters indifference and breeds victims and totalitarians. Set our children FREE!! As I watch what has gone on around the world from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall St. movement I am reminded and invigorated by a series of lectures Maria Montessori made from 1932-1937 in which she caught a glimpse of the future of humanity. I would like to share this with you now:

                     "Education as it is commonly regarded encourages individuals to go their own way and pursue their own personal interests. Schoolchildren are taught not to help one another, not to prompt their classmates who don't know the answers, but to concern themselves only with getting promoted at the end of the year and to win prizes in competitions with fellow pupils. And these poor selfish little creatures, who experimental psychology has proved are mentally exhausted, find themselves in later life like separate grains of sand in the desert; each one is isolated from his neighbor, and all of them are barren. If a storm comes up, these little human particles possessed of no life-giving spirituality are caught up in the gusts and form a deadly whirlwind. An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual undertaking of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live. The secret is this: making it possible for man to become the master of the mechanical environment that oppresses him today...Today these energies are scattered; or rather, they are repressed and misdirected through the errors perpetuated by a kind of education that still holds sway all over the world. The adult does not understand the child. Parents unconsciously battle with their children rather than helping them in their divine mission. Fathers and sons do not understand each other. An abyss yawns between them from the day the child is born. And this lack of understanding is man’s undoing; it leads him astray, sickens his spirit, impoverishes him, and makes him fail to realize his potential. The lack of understanding between children and adults precipitates the tragedy of the human heart, which in later life manifests itself in lack of sensitivity, in sloth, and in criminality. Those who have been humiliated are ashamed of themselves; the timid withdraw into their shells; the fearful seek their own personal comfort. All the potential wealth of man’s personality comes to nothing. Education must take advantage of the value of hidden instincts that guides man as he builds his own life. Powerful among these instincts is the social drive...The youngsters personality must come into contact with the world of production after an apprenticeship in experience; man must be guided first and foremost toward and awareness of his responsibilities with regard to human social organization...Society can be organized in short, only if education offers man a ladder of social experiences as he passes from one period of his life to another."

-Maria Montessori

Education and Peace, pgs. 30-32 (Clio Montessori Series: Vol. 10)
ISBN 1-85109-168-8
Taken from a selection of speeches, delivered by Maria Montessori at international congresses and peace councils.

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