Gables Montessori Blog


Probably we have seen that in class of our kids there are children of diverse origins, who come from other countries and join our community. They are a sample of the globalization process and the mixture of races that is increasingly common. For children it is normal, they don´t understand about skin color, religions, different ways or feeding or culture. There are no barriers for them, on the contrary, it is an adventure to know new games, food and ways of entertainment. Though there should not be problems, parents always must know that their task is to teach their children to see the differences with respect and understanding. Also, schools must have a special program that helps the children to the daily conviviality. Learning to coexist is a basic purpose of the education (that does not begin in the school, but in house). The debate, the dialog, the responsibility, the agreements, the reflections … all is education.

To take advantage of the multicultural differences helps to create more pacific, close and just societies. In the classroom, students working side by side with others learn to understand the perspectives of different backgrounds. Probably a multiethnic environment represents a challenge for the teachers, who have to be creative to teach and probe new ways to help his pupils to succeed academically.  It is a delicate task in which all the groups must have the same importance for the guides but simultaneously their cultural differences must be considered and respected. It is good to remember what Dr. Montessori said about it: “the child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it.  The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul.  He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.” (The Absorbent Mind)

In the classroom the teacher can organize learning groups and develop activities that require each student to contribute to the group, thus each child has some of value to say and would be recognized for it. In this interaction, guides should never tolerate disrespect. This can be achieved establishing clear rules for the interaction of the group, also those rules must be also supported by children. The use of positive role models is an alternative, workers who have reached an important place in some profession or have some public occupation, taken from the community, they can be an excellent component for promoting multicultural education.

The school can be an ideal place for young children to expose their traditions, music and rhythms, instruments, celebrations, books, people, homes and art.  We must always bear in mind that “multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization or society”, as Caleb Rosado says, expert and professor of Urban Studies.

Education in a multicultural environment “is the ability to celebrate with the other in a manner that transcends all barriers and brings about a unity in diversity”. For that, we must find all sorts of ways to expand the children’s view of the world, help them to think without prejudices about themes like gender (girls can become astronauts); religion (none is the “right”), race or culture (every child can become anything he or she wishes), income (difficult economic situations are only cycles in life), language (bilingual and multilingual students have a tremendous asset). Dr. Maria Montessori said about childhood “If during this period of social interest and mental acuteness all possibilities of culture are offered to the child, to widen his outlook and ideas of the world, this organization will be formed and will develop; the amount of light a child has acquired in the moral field, and the lofty ideals he has formed, will be used for purposes of social organization at a later stage” (To Educate the Human Potential).

Parents also can help in the education of their children in a multicultural environment. Some activities are: attending multicultural events, watching television programs that show different races and cultures, reading stories about the world, sharing social work in the community, inviting friends and neighbors who come from other countries, explaining them about the religions existing, visiting different restaurants, fairs, markets and others where the family can taste traditional meals from other cultures.

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