Rereading my New Year’s message of last year, I must confess that I clearly am a poor prophet: the light that I so hopefully saw at the end of the tunnel still has to gain in strength.
All the same, I can confidently repeat that 2021 again has given us many acts of kindness and self-sacrifice by people across the world; caring for each other remained a valued currency.
Many in our community rose to the challenges of the pandemic, adapted practices to provide training and education opportunities for adults and children alike, both in-person and remotely, and helped to address the impact on our children, of a childhood turned on its head with school interruptions and social distancing. Our response has to be modelled on the words of Maria Montessori when she said, ‘The question of education is fundamental, because it is an exigency common to all human beings on earth’.* Every child must have the opportunity of a quality education; an education that enables the development of the whole human being; which is not merely focussed on academic achievement. We are committed to providing an education that is directed to enabling children to grow to their full potential and become active global citizens, going beyond one designed to develop competent functional skills.
The past year we have also seen the consequences of our behaviours on this planet, of climate change, of vast economic disparities acerbated by Covid, of political unrest and vulnerable situations. The nature of the challenges facing parents, schools, educationalists in today’s world, I believe, reinforce the importance of the Montessori pedagogy. Our response to these challenges must be to further strengthen the study and dissemination of her pedagogy, to expand its reach and make the Montessori teaching profession even more attractive; we need to demonstrate the urgency of adopting an educational approach that will make a positive difference to the lives of children.
Maria Montessori’s call for a just, equitable and peaceful world must be echoed by every Montessorian, a call we cannot be shy to articulate as we work our way towards that time, as Renilde Montessori put it, ‘when wars will cease and humanity will no longer inflict horrible hurts upon itself and its habitat’.
玛丽亚·蒙台梭利呼吁建立一个公正、公平与和平的世界，这一呼吁必须得到每一位蒙台梭利人的响应。在我们努力迈向那个时代的时候，我们不能羞于表达这一呼吁。正如雷尼尔德·蒙台梭利 （Renilde Montessori） 提到，“当战争将停止时，人类将不再对自身及其环境造成可怕的伤害”。
Our message is one of hope for the future. It is supported by practical actions that will lay firm foundations to continue our mission of connecting Montessori to the world. These include the Montessori Architecture website providing a key to supporting children’s learning environments, the innovative and transformational outreach initiatives taking place around the world, and a new Course Administration System which will enhance the way we support and engage with Training Centres as well as those who have completed training.
My time as President of AMI will come to an end in 2022; my years on the AMI Board have shown me what the community’s dedication and commitment can achieve, and I can with great sincerity say how proud I am to be part of this global family.
Wishing you, your families and close ones a healthy, happy and hope-filled 2022.
Philip D. O’Brien
Association Montessori Internationale