my project4peace

Homeschooling in the Desert with Intention and Hope and Special Needs

Montessori is Special Education

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I wonder what encouragement I will find in the pages of this book?

This his book was written so many years ago, yet in Montessori Schools today Children with Special Needs seem to be limited to very high functioning children, with few behavior challenges.  It seems to me that as a teacher the question of the other children getting what they needed is always present, am I serving everyone?  Is it out of balance.  But yet at the same time I grapple with my belief that communities include everyone.  How do we learn to be whole citizens in this community if we do not learn how to engage with, have time for and include all members of the community.  How can this not be part of our schools?  Is it what we value? Is it how we have chosen to define successful individuals that gets in our way.

A decision to see a person as whole, and deserving of our kindness and respect, to see their greatness requires us to have a new understanding of what it is to be human.  What it is to be of service. To let go of old ways.  Haven’t we done this before?  Isn’t this basic misunderstanding at the root so much disparity in the world are we really a better nation because “more” people have an opportunity.  Can’t we really shift our perception enough that all people have opportunity to be accepted in a community.  Can’t we make it just as shameful, and unacceptable that our space whatever it is was not designed to include all individuals.  Can’t we stretch our greatness to recognize what’s missing when individuals with various disabilities are missing from the room.  Seeking diverse communities has always made us a greater nation, a greater community, a greater school, a greater group.  What needs to happen?  Often it seems when great change must take place it is the mistaken goal or model that needs to be restructured.  Greatness comes from our ability to see beyond our current circumstances to a possibility that exceeds those constraints, (something our most vulnerable do on a daily basis). A nation of greatness must see the greatness in each other, by the wholeness of it’s individuals.  We make others vulnerable when we create a world in which the value is determined by others.  One’s vulnerability is proportionate to the constructs of the society in which it lives.  What kind of society, what kind of being do we wish to construct.

When all else is gone, what will bring us the most joy?  How can we remember, as we seek to “pay for our lives”, that joy exists in the ability to be ourselves, be loved, and be able to serve and love others, and seek that, that builds us in our own vision. Isn’t this what Montessori saw?  It costs nothing to be kind, to be patient, to be giving, to be compassionate, to have empathy. We have become a nation that everything has a price tag. It is costing us our humanness and our potential greatness.  It is an invisible force that has altered the nature of all things.  What we lack in money is always made up for in the richness of our joy in each other.  If we shifted our success meter to exist in the richness of our community, the level of service, compassion, joy  it would have to include everyone, and it could build a community of individuals that care for each other, are empowered and enriched and nourished by each other.  Special would just be an important element in the mix.   It is an important part of the mix.  The fact that it is missing, and it’s members absent from the community on the whole, our community is disable, lacks the very elements that would exist if these members were wholly a part. It is something we hide from, don’t want to know about, fantasize that all is well with, so we can live in this illusion of success.

I believe that a transformation of this kind is happening all around us.  Like waiting for a bud to bloom, or an egg to hatch, or a child to have that “aha” moment, we will unfold this possibility.  The seeds have already been planted the ground has been made fertile, and now we just nourish, encourage tirelessly, invite, and trust in its inevitability.  This I say as I deal with my own impatience, perceptions, and abilities with still the hope of practicing in good faith that that I believe in.  If I don’t stay compassionate with myself, I might just give up, however. It’s a new day, patience arrived as always at my bedside and so here I am again, and in the company of so many I trust. Good company it is.


Author: LWilliams

I am a Mother to 2 wonderful young men. I am a Montessori Teacher (3-6) and I am learning about advocating for inclusion in Montessori settings. I hope to help others raising children with unique challenges find their way to inclusive living in their own community.

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