I was so looking forward to presenting Advocacy for Equity: Supporting the Montessori Community this year at the Montessori for Social Justice Conference.
With a necessary change in schedule, as it turns out, I’ll actually be doing Advocacy for Equity as I spend the coming week with soon-to-be Montessori teachers in their Indigenous Language Immersion Early Childhood classroom.
It has been a wonderful experience working with these amazing women. Yes, they’ve learned Montessori philosophy, lessons and materials, managing a classroom but I am the fortunate one to have learned so much from them.
I have been honored to listen to their stories- never feeling respected and accepted by their public school teachers. I’ve listened as they shared their tears in stories of the ways they were shamed, belittled, and made to feel “less than.”
I’ve learned how integral language is to our identities, our beliefs, our culture, and our soul. I’ve learned, too, how truly multi-cultural an authentic Montessori classroom can be. As we have struggled together, these women and me, with the support of the training program’s Ed. Director, to figure out how to create an Indigenous Language curriculum mimicking Montessori materials and sequence, I’ve marveled at their unwavering commitment to their language and culture and to authentic Montessori.
I’ve observed the joy of their young students as they become “whole” -immersed in their heritage culture and language, watching as they share their songs, their ever expanding conversations with one another in the language of their ancestors. And their obvious pride in who they are.
So I will miss sharing and learning with my Montessori colleagues this coming week as these new teachers and I share in the final week of their Montessori training. But my heart will be full with the lessons I have been taught. Their courage and commitment will stay with me as I continue to support the work of Advocacy for Equity.