A little over a week ago, I posted an essay about the Peace Education curriculum at MCS. That essay was just the latest of many instances over the past two years when I have referenced in my blog posts those qualities of Grace and Courtesy that are at the very heart of Montessori philosophy and practice.
Just a few weeks after arriving at MCS in the summer of 2016, when doing some “research” on Grace and Courtesy, I recall coming across, on another school’s website, the following compelling imperative:
“Imagine if every adult behaved in kind and courteous ways in our community, and all of our children absorbed that into themselves and then took it out into all of their relationships…. Grace and Courtesy is a tremendous vision, and one we work toward every day in our own hearts and behaviors.”
If you were to walk into the Head of School’s office here at MCS, I would hope that one of the first things that you might notice is a poster that depicts how The Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is central to every religion and can be found articulated in virtually any sacred text that you might choose to study.
I keep that poster in my office not so much for it to be noticed by (and perhaps serve as a subtle reminder too) anyone who happens to be walking through my door (although if it has that positive effect, I’m OK with that); rather, I want for it to serve as a daily reminder to me of what I have come to believe is my true, “unwritten job description” as Head of School at MCS.
And what is that job description, you might ask? For that, I will resort to quoting once more from that school’s website that I, fortunately, came across:
“Montessori philosophy uses the phrase ‘Grace and Courtesy’ to reflect the way in which we endeavor to engage in all of our interactions: with ourselves, with others, and with the environment in which we live. Grace and courtesy are not taught so much as modeled, and practiced, at every level of our work and play.”
This coming Wednesday morning, March 14, beginning at 10:00 a.m., our Adolescent and Upper Elementary students, along with their teachers, will be taking part in a brief (17 minutes) “walk-out” in recognition of the 17 students and teachers who were killed at their school in Parkland, Florida.
I will be attending that walk-out as well, for I want our students and teachers to know that I am “with them” as they strive to create a more peaceful and just world, not only for themselves and the children of the future but for us as well.
Are you with me? And perhaps, more importantly, are you with them?
Tim Daniel, Head of School