Montessori and Peace: our mandate, our mission

seeing the big picture
in Montessori materials
While many schools set goals based on student performance, Great River is an institution that speaks of success in regards to student development. Our mission as a Montessori school goes beyond individual education and into a social mission of developing a peaceful world, one child at a time.

As a Montessori institution, Great River carries a much larger responsibility on behalf of students, families, and the world at large. Montessori wrote of this task:

"An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of [humans], the enhancement of the value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to times in which they live." [Maria Montessori, Education and Peace]

rewarding work from an earliest age 
World peace is quite an undertaking. Education, as articulated by Montessori,  goes beyond student content knowledge. Beyond the boundaries of the classroom there lies an important goal that includes all of humanity. The goal is a future more full of justice, more welcoming to life, and more peaceful than the world we currently live in. Children, as our future leaders, are the ones who will carry out that mission. Our children have an immense task ahead of them!
Because of the amazing capacity of growth and transformation of the child, Montessori philosophy recognizes the opportunity we
have to offer an environment that strives to give the experience of 
that peaceful world. From the youngest ages we witness children interested in order and meaningful work. The earliest child experience is rooted in constructing meaning out of the environment. This desire to find order and a place in the world continues through childhood and into adolescence. 

finding a place in society
Our task at Great River School is to offer an environment that not only meets the baseline expectations of excellent education (content learning) but also the highest aspirations of humanity. Peace, order, inspiration, finding resolution to conflict, giving opportunities for meaning and real purpose to the work day - these are the baseline expectations of Great River School. Our students - as they contribute to real tasks, and engage in the real world through field trips, agriculture, expedition, and classrooms filled with artifacts from the world - are living an experience that aspires to a more peaceful world. 
ready to see the world

Our approach to building community begins with the smallest of tasks - preparing for a festival, contributing individually, and working together to lift, paint, make, cook, set up, celebrate, clean, and reflect together. The way in which we pursue a global change really does begin with the smallest of conversations - "How are you this morning? How can I support you?" 

We are all together in contributing to the aspirations of this school, and every day our students, our volunteers, and our families are working toward a more peaceful world, by supporting this vision of empowering children to construct themselves through an environment that is prepared with boundaries, support, and high expectations for the whole person - to learn, yes. But also to engage with kindness, and to seek justice.

As we look at our school, I challenge us all to ask the "why" and "how" questions. Whether we are planning a gathering, or observing a classroom, or observing a child exploring the world at home... There is a moment available to us where we may ask "Why is this environment suited to peace? Suited to the children who live here? How are they empowered? How can they feel supported in constructing independence and generosity here?" These questions grow into the adolescent program with a challenge for our older students "Why is this work meaningful to me? How can I apply myself toward a world that is more meaningful, more just, and more peaceful?"

These are the questions that guide us at Great River School. I thank every parent and family that has joined us in the journey and aspiration of generating a more peaceful world, starting with every young agent of change that walks into our school each day.

Making and contributing
working together

beginning with peace and
order in the smallest of
gathering to celebrate
our harvest!

contributing to a large project

all ages working together