A Shared Commitment for Change. And a Reason for Gratitude.

A Shared Commitment for Change.  And a Reason for Gratitude.

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”

- Dr. Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential, p. 6

Somehow, we find ourselves at this point in time yet again—standing eye-to-eye with the “hustle and bustle” that the holiday season presents and wondering how yet another year has flown by so quickly.

You may be faced by other questions—huge and important questions—related to political unrest and world events, uncertainties in your personal life, or perhaps even the current state of education and how it relates to our future society.

Last year around this time, I discussed the concept of “community” within the American Montessori Society (AMS) landscape. I continue to actively reflect on this word each day in my role as executive director—no matter where geographically I may be or the specific activities on my calendar. In the past twelve months, the enormous and varied global AMS community has consistently amazed me with its reach and unwavering commitment to forging a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.

As we prepare for the next steps of our collective walk, an additional word—“change”—has played a pivotal role in many of the conversations we are having here at AMS headquarters. We recognize that we must pause and contemplate the profound changes that have unfolded in the world, including the unprecedented changes of the past few years.

At first glance, embracing these changes may seem contradictory to what we do as Montessori educators. After all, we recognize the timeless legacy of Maria Montessori and understand the vitality of preserving her pedagogy.

However, it’s important to remember that Montessori education has always been a beacon of innovation and change since its inception. Dr. Montessori's pioneering work revolutionized education by placing the child at the center of the learning experience. Our historical timeline, rooted in her visionary ideals, spans generations and underscores our unwavering dedication to affording children the optimal foundation for life.

Throughout history, our world has weathered seismic shifts—wars, economic upheavals, technological breakthroughs, and societal transformations. These events have reshaped our society and have repeatedly called upon AMS to adapt and not just survive but thrive in an ever-changing environment. AMS has always risen to the occasion during turbulent times, reaffirming our commitment to delivering a holistic and child-centric educational experience. In the face of adversity, we have consistently stepped forward, redefining the essence of education and nurturing our children.

Our commitment to change extends beyond reacting to global events; it encompasses our relationships with the many diverse stakeholders that comprise our community, including parents, schools, teacher education programs, AMS members, and educators in Montessori settings.

In the year ahead, AMS will be intentionally and strategically improving our tools and systems for communicating with these different audiences. Through these improvements, we will strengthen our connections, foster more robust relationships, and secure the future of our work.

I remain in awe of our community’s efforts–your work–and am truly grateful for your involvement, support, and collaboration as we walk together in this path for the children and families we serve.

About the Author

Munir Shivji, AMS Executive Director

Munir Shivji, MEd, is the executive director at the American Montessori Society. Previously, he was the founding head of two Montessori schools in Texas and founding director of Cambridge Montessori Institute. He is also a former director at the Cambridge Montessori School and former Montessori Early Childhood teacher. Previously, Munir served on the AMS Board of Directors for 7 years. AMS credentialed (Early Childhood, Administrator).

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The opinions expressed in Montessori Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of AMS.

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